Welcome to the online diary of the “London Ziegs,” as they journal their experiences relocating from the balmy climes of sunny Orlando, Florida to the more chaotically cosmopolitan environment of London, UK!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Running Up That Hill

(NHS seems to be a topic of considerable interest, so I'll post the following episode even though it wasn't particularly newsworthy.)

Friday I was invited to a follow-up test at Wexham hospital, just to make sure I was still doing well after our little incident Christmas Night. It was actually kinda fun: they covered me with more electrodes, then did the "rising treadmill" thing, where every minute or so the belt would accelerate, while the angle would simultaneously increase. The way to play the game was simply to hold your position without slipping off and having your face ripped off by the speeding mat.

It was just like this training montage from Rocky IV (skip to the 3min mark), except of course I looked much, much better than that wuss Dolph Lundgren :-)

Anyway, I'd have to call it another NHS success story. I thought it was cool that my hospital-assigned doctor took the initiative to schedule additional testing for me, to the point of setting up the appointment, mailing me the information, etc.

From what I remember in America, most of the time they'd just TELL YOU that you needed to schedule such-and-such with these-and-those, and leave it up to you to figure out how to make that appointment (usually getting kicked around a phone-tag loop, in which multiple offices each claim they're not the ones responsible for that test), having your insurance carrier refuse the test as unnecessary, etc.

By way of example, last year about this time, I had to pay $400 for an "optional" test for Jonathan out of my pocket, because insurance felt it wasn't worthwhile -- and then the test revealed a potentially critical and hitherto undiagnosed result! So actually seeing the hospital take on all these chores, and doing it well, without even being asked, was actually quite impressive.

Once again, from the moment I walked in, to the moment I walked out, there was no paperwork, no signatures, no forms -- they took care of everything. And as to the "lengthy waits" I've heard about: I arrived at 9.50am for a 10am appointment; seeing I was ready, they called my name at 9.55am; the test was done by 10.20am; and I was outside by the bus-stop by 10.25am. As before, the only cost to me was bus fare back to work (£2.30, IIRC).

My Objectivist friends are convinced I'm losing my soul; but based on my own personal observations (something Rand seemed to prize), NHS appears to be working pretty well.

(BTW, title is an allusion to a Kate Bush track :-)


  1. Yep, when I read your title I started humming it. . .great song. Good for you that you are being taken care of! I love to hear these stories because all you ever hear in the US(or more like, what's forced down our throats) is that it doesn't work. Not that it's perfect but when I lived in Germany I saw it work, my friends in Canada are happy and I love to hear that it is working there too. And, you're right, according to Rand --you are looking after your own self-interest. :)

  2. Ohhhhh I miss the NHS!

    On another note, I LOVE the Rocky montage. I am a huge Rocky fan...