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Battling Depression, depression, emotional well-being, Health, Memory loss, Mental Health, overcoming depression, well-being

N Is For NHS

I live in Brussels (Belgium) and the health care here, in my opinion, is wonderful. You pay a little every month, get to choose your doctor and 75% of all your medical costs are reimbursed. At the beginning of my depression, I would go and see my doctor once a week. He would always ask me how things were going, which more often than not, would ensue a deluge of tears from me. He would patiently listen to everything I had to say, no matter how ridiculous, and took copious notes. All this took time, but I never felt rushed, and he would never check his watch to see how long I’d been there.

As things progressed, I would visit him once every two weeks and finally once a month. If I didn’t have the money to pay him straight away, he would give me my receipt, that I would hand it in to my Mutuelle (the Belgium equivalent of the NHS) so that I could be reimbursed first and then pay him. Whenever he had a box of my medication, he would give it to me for free. Now that’s what I call a great service.

Last year, my mother who lives in the England, suffered a stroke and was paralysed down the left side of her body. As a consequence, I went over to be with her and help out any way I could. I came armed with a month’s supply of my medication, which eventually ran out. So, I went to see the local GP in the area and was shocked to discover than one appointment is 10 minutes. You can book a double appointment. However, these are in high demand and therefore hard to come by. To make matters worse my anti-anxiety medication, wasn’t available in England so the GP gave me the next best thing.

As it transpired, the next best thing didn’t work for me and was in fact Valium disguised as Diazepam, which is highly addictive. I was not best pleased, and neither was my doctor back in Belgium. During my eight-week stay in England, I really missed by regular doctor and at a time when I could have really used a friendly ear was on my own. My one saving grace were my nightly phone calls to my sister who lives in Italy, without those calls, when I would rant and rave, I would have gone totally around the bend. I still can’t believe that those on high have the audacity to call it the National Health Service, when there is no service involved!

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About D.J. Haswell

I battled with depression, brought on by stress, for 10 years. During that time, I made many mistakes, due in no small part to the fact that I perceived my illness as a failing on my part. It took me a long time, coupled with hindsight, to realise that I hadn’t failed in my life, but rather that the circumstance of my life had failed me. I started my blog to bring hope to those currently suffering from the debilitating effects of depression that there is light at the end of what may seem like an unending tunnel!


5 thoughts on “N Is For NHS

  1. Love the post. I love how it is fully described. p/s: I’m also happy that you’re such a strong person, and please, stay strong!

    Posted by tishasofhi | May 4, 2013, 11:04 PM
  2. That’s really interesting. We don’t have NHS here in the states. Doctor visits are costly even with insurance, and then medicine is much more! One visit, for me, is $30, and then my meds run about $60 each month!

    Posted by Eros & Psyche | May 5, 2013, 9:57 AM
    • Hi Eros & Psyche, thanks for taking the time to read my blog. One doctor’s appointment is €24 = $30, and I’m reimbursed €19 = $26, in other words I only pay €5 = $4. My monthly medication comes to €66 = $86, however with the Mutuelle’s intervention €47 = $62 I only pay €19 = $26. So in total I only pay $30 a month!

      Posted by djhaswell | May 5, 2013, 12:20 PM
  3. Thanks for your comments on the health care system in Belgium. In the states were still debating whether health care is a right or a privilege. Despite the new laws that go into effect next year (commonly called Obamacare), the HCS is still firmly under the control of private, for profit, insurance companies. For an uninsured person, a doctor office visit runs about $150 and medications can be prohibitively expensive.

    Many of the better anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs have gone generic so there are better options and several companies (Walgreen, Walmart) have drug plans that makes them even cheaper. Still, really good health care in the US is the privilege of the well-to-do, the well-insured and people on public plans like Medicare. For millions of uninsured people, just going to the doctor can be difficult.

    Posted by almondhead | May 5, 2013, 5:37 PM

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