Well, he is!

A man from Wales was charged £1,775 for treatment in an English hospital – because he was a “foreigner”.

Nicholas White, 64, was shocked when the bill arrived after he was taken ill while visiting relatives in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, just before Christmas.

“I was told that because I was Welsh I counted as a foreigner and would therefore have to pay,” said Mr White, a retired teacher from Dyffryn Ardudwy, Gwynedd, Wales.

This is a pity though:

The NHS trust has now admitted that the bill should have gone direct to Mr White’s local NHS trust and not to him directly.

And this is fascinating:

He spent three days undergoing tests at the Hinchingbrooke Hospital and was released with suspected gallstones.

Several weeks later, Mr White was offered an appointment for a follow-up procedure in the form of a gastroscopy to investigate what was causing his pain.

Mr White approached his regular GP in Barmouth, who advised him to take the appointment because he might have to wait anything up to six months to have the procedure in Wales.

NHS England is more market based than NHS Wales. The marketisation of health care really is such a bad idea, isn’t it?

15 thoughts on “Well, he is!”

  1. So although he was presumably in England anyway when the first hospital visit was needed, he had gone home to Wales, saw his own GP and then returned to England specifically to get quicker treatment than he could at home.

    Not just a foreigner, but a “health tourist”!

  2. Same mindset in Scotland. A colleague was explaining that one of the reasons he wanted to remain part of the Union was because his department holds a number if lucrative research grants from UK grant awarding bodies. The halfwit Yesser quizzing him said “Why would they not give grants to Scotland if we’re independent?” The answer, which still puzzled her: “Because we’d be a foreign country”

    They can’t have it both ways.

  3. £1,775 for three days of tests.

    Cheap. Clearly the NHS still has difficulties with the whole question of how much stuff actually costs in a planned system. Same problem in the Soviet Union – how much should a pencil cost?

  4. Yeah, what did they think devolution meant? This particular man could be a unionist for all I know, but you’d think he’d at least have noticed that his fellow countrymen campaigned and voted for this. Has he not noticed all the crowing from the Welsh Assembly about how devolution means their NHS won’t be destroyed by the Tories like the English version?

  5. I see a meme coming on… “Happy the Tories can’t wreck the Welsh NHS…………………..

    ……………….goes to England for faster and better treatment”

  6. £1,775 for three days of tests.

    Cheap.

    Doesn’t that rather depend on the treatment received?? I have no doubt that NHS pricing is less than accurate, however.

  7. Worryingly, there’s absolutely no breakdown of that price. Was it a cheap £5 off-the-shelf disposable test, followed by three nights bed & food at £590 a night while waiting for the results? Could it have been cheaper (and possibly more pleasant) to put him up in the local Travelodge?

  8. My guess is
    Ultrasound +/- ct scan (inc radiographer & radiologist time)
    Full set of bloods
    Overnight inpatient stay
    Endoscopic Retrograde Pancreatigraphy (inc consultant surgeon, scrub nurses, recovery nurses and porter)

    £1775? Cheap, I’d say.

  9. Back in NL, a relatively simple midwife childbirth plus overnight stay (cos the little bastard had pooped in his amniotic fluid) was north of EUR 3000, if I remember rightly.

    A CT scan was EUR 750 or so when I had that.

    That’s why I think the bill is cheap – I have a reference from a market-based healthcare provider system (even if the source of the payments is a heavily-socialised insurance system).

  10. Exactly Abacab, you haven’t the first clue whether this is cheap or not.

    Quite apart from anything else, it may only represent part of the overall bill, etc.

    It’s certainly cheaper than the last car I bought, but rather more than my last haircut.

  11. How did they actually manage to charge him? On previous visits to Blighty I’ve needed NHS treatment and always offered to pay for it (Brit but not resident for 30 years) and been treated as though I’d offered to pimp out the nurses. They have no concept of money or charging for services or that things have a price. Crazy, just crazy.

  12. So Much for Subtlety

    I was surprised by how expensive that was, but as Dr C points out, it isn’t depending on what they did to him.

    I like the idea though. I have lived in foreign parts where you get a bill and have to go to get it reimbursed. I like those sort of systems because how else do you know? There is a piece of low hanging fruit here. We can greatly increase the joy of the nation if we give people the bill and let them get the money back from their local funding office. Everyone will be alternatively gobsmacked or shocked or enormously pleased to know what it really costs.

    Maybe it will increase respect for the doctors and lower people’s willingness to use the NHS for no reason.

  13. “A CT scan was EUR 750 or so when I had that.” Jesus…. in 2010 I had one in China for a tenner.

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