Wednesday, July 14, 2004

It's not free

Today I received the appointment card from the infertility clinic. Well, in reality, it's not just a clinic-it has a rather grandiose title but I'm not going to go into that. Let's just call it the Centre.

I'm pleased, in that it only took two weeks from us sending back the form for the Centre to get back to us. However, our appointment is not until October.

It seems a long time a way. I know that realistically, for the cash-strapped NHS, this is perhaps not that long a waiting list. I am further appreciative of the fact that if we enter the Centre's Assisted Conception programme (which henceforth shall be known as "Ass Con"), depending on the treatment we receive, the costs may be somewhat less than we might have had to pay if we lived in another country where infertility treatment may not have been covered by insurance.

What irritates me a little is when people describe treatments on the NHS as "free." Correction, people, NHS services are funded by the taxpayer.

Every month, a good little chunk comes out of E's paypacket, and mine. I don't really begrudge paying it, since despite the myriad of problems with socialised health care, it's always worked pretty well for me. I pay it, and I use it when I need to.

However I would point out that I don't need it very often. With the exception of a pap smear every three years and the tests I have received so far for infertility, in the ten years I have lived in Britain, I have been to the doctor a total of maybe four times. And still every month the money comes out of my paypacket. So in terms of what I have cost the NHS over the years versus what I have paid, I reckon they haven't done too badly.

Now, look, I know it's not maybe not that simple and there are a lot of complicated issues about the NHS. I know that the money I pay goes to keeping those services ticking over, in case I DO ever need to phone up my surgery for an appointment, etc, etc.

I am talking about the fact that until our infertility woes arose, I was a healthy young woman who put no additional strain on the NHS. I was employed, I paid taxes, and those taxes included National Insurance contributions. I will continue to pay those taxes as long as I work (and assuming we don't abolish the NHS altogether.)

So it's not "free". And there is a waiting list. And let us not forget that the Centre does in fact charge additional fees for Ass Con treatments like IUIs, plus up to £3,000 a pop for IVF.

Maybe I should start saving up.

2 Comments:

At 8:43 PM, Blogger Orodemniades said...

Oo, be wary of that appointment date. Our original appointment was for December 2003.

Then it was June 2004.

Now it's unofficially December 2004.

Funny, my eggs aren't growing any younger, but they keep delaying me and delaying me.

Does your clinic have The Baby Wall, y'know, where they have pictures of all the successful pregnancies? I hate it, and I can't avoid it, because you have to walk straight towards it to get to the waiting room.

Ugh.

 
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