The UK Actually Puts ‘Care’ in Healthcare

Shortly after we arrived in the UK and got set up with a doctor’s office, the doctor told me I probably qualified for free medicine because I’m diabetic and have thyroid disease. She had me fill in a form similar to this:


And then she stamped it and I mailed it in. A week or so later I got a card that means all of my prescriptions paid for by NHS. ALL OF THEM. Not just the two I actually take for diabetes and thyroid, but all of them.

Because the UK’s medical philosophy is based on prevention, and part of prevention is making sure people get their proper medicine up front before lack of it makes conditions worse.

Contrasted to this, before the Affordable Care Act in the US a significant number of my friends were experiencing declining health because they had no insurance and couldn’t afford basic medication. Since the Affordable Care Act, more of them have at least some coverage, but it’s still far from perfect. And even the good-quality, employer-based coverage we’ve had from various providers in the US over the years never paid for medications outright. In fact, most had high copays, deductibles, and excluded piles of medications. As in, we paid for insurance that then inserted itself between me and my doctor to say, “Nah, we won’t cover that particular medicine because we have a backroom deal with a competitor.”

Colour me impressed that the NHS takes much better care of its patients!

Then today when I was in the clinic for a routine blood pressure test, they were giving out something from Cambridgeshire County Council marked “Winter Health Packs”.

This is what was inside:

winter health pack contents

A lengthy booklet with health tips that includes a thermometer to make sure your rooms are warm enough, a pamphlet on where to go/call for various problems, a comment card/survey, a tip sheet on how to avoid falls in the winter, a card about eating healthy that includes a vegetable soup recipe, and a tea bag that says KEEP CALM AND HAVE A CUPPA.

It’s pretty much all about how to stay warm, safe, happy, well-fed, and healthy through the winter. And it has tea. Cheeky tea designed purely to make you happy.

Now that is health CARE, both from the national system and the local shire.

NHS has its problems like any system, but let me assure every Brit reading this that you have it really, really good. As a Canadian I know what it’s like to complain about your national health care but I promise you this is leaps and bounds better than the US system.

And now for something completely different: more beautiful photos from my walk home from the clinic. Because Cambridge rocks.

(Click to enlarge.)

river scene

river scene

river scene

river scene

river scene

Is it any wonder that my blood pressure is better than it’s been in a decade? It’s almost low!

More Reasons To Love Cambridge

This was what I saw on my walk from our house to downtown on October 30:

Jesus Green panorama

Click for the full size image. Then sigh with delight and possibly seethe with jealousy if you don’t live somewhere with this sort of natural spectacle on the edge of downtown.

Jesus Green autumn trees

Click to enlarge.

This is the view from my doctor’s lobby:

buildings outside office

These buildings predate pretty much all of modern medicine.


Of course if you look down, it appears they have a pigeon horror feature:

nets and spikes

Nets and spikes. Methinks this is not a good spot for Audubon Society meetings.

But I am not a pigeon, so I like the place.

I Have Excuses

I have been remiss in updating because Halloween and the Birmingham cake show were kicking my ass. But those are over with now, so I hope to soon post lots of stuff that’s been piling up. I also need to post my cake show results over at Eat the Evidence.

But generally speaking, I get a lot less done than I intend each day because I am homeschooling Peo and Robin likes to climb up beside me whenever I’m on the computer and grin into my peripheral vision until I acknowledge how cute she is.

Robin grinning at me

Robin uses her CUTE GRIN. It is SUPER EFFECTIVE.

Or if that doesn’t get her enough attention, she just sticks her finger in my ear.

She's shoving her baby wisdom directly into my brain.  Lucky me.  Because nothing helps me write my next romance novel like a Wet Willie.

She’s shoving her baby wisdom directly into my brain. Lucky me. Because nothing helps me write my next romance novel like a Wet Willie.

So…yeah. Be patient. More monkeyloo goodness coming soon.

And someone pass the cotton swabs, please.