Helen Bach: Perils of charging for healthcare

Helen doesn't want to see charges for visiting the GP introduced

Helen doesn't want to see charges for visiting the GP introduced

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I had to go to the doctor’s the other week.

While I was waiting for my appointment I overheard two elderly ladies chatting to each other.

It transpired that somebody they knew had died.

One lady imparted the news of the death to the other – whose response was ‘That’ll be another house for sale in the street, then.’

I was slightly taken aback by this at first but, giving her the benefit of the doubt, I concluded she was perhaps just being practical.

When you reach a certain age, perhaps you think of death in a more matter-of-fact way, particularly if it’s someone of a ‘good age’ who has died.

Back to the doctor’s, I hadn’t realized that the price of prescriptions had increased – they now cost £8.05 per item, which I thought was quite expensive.

But I hadn’t had to pay to see the soctor, and I didn’t have to pay for the blood test I needed either.

So while my prescription did cost, I’m guessing what I paid probably just about covered the price of the medication.

So yes, this is a round about way of saying how lucky we are to have the NHS, we shouldn’t take it for granted, and we need to protect it and make sure it stays free for those who need it.

I certainly don’t want to see charges for visiting the GP introduced.

Anyone who saw the recent BBC4 comedy The Walshes will have realised that in Ireland they have to pay to see a physician (about 50 euros, or £40), hence the character Graham’s keenness to ask his daughter’s new boyfriend, Doctor Burger, to give his opinion on a decidedly delicate medical matter.

Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding, Doctor Burger wasn’t the boyfriend’s name, it was where he worked as a fast food cook.

Now none of us want to find ourselves in a similar situation, do we?

Read more from Helen here.