Falling confidence in NHS forced decision

PRIVATE HEALTH; A SPECIAL REPORT

With two young sons, and falling confidence in the National Health Service, Robert and Emma Schneider decided to buy private medical insurance to give themselves peace of mind. This decision has been vindicated twice.

Last year, on the first day of a five-day skiing holiday in Villars, Switzerland, Emma fell badly and fractured both her tibia and fibula. Skiing accidents can prove to be very expensive, and Emma had no specific holiday insurance, but she was covered by her regular PPP policy. The company paid for the bloodwagon down the slope, the ambulance to the local hospital in Aigle and the two and a half hour operation on her leg to insert a metal plate. Five days later an ambulance took her to the airport, and another met her in London and took her home, all covered by PPP.

Emma's only complaint was that the company paid up against receipts for the bills, instead of settling directly, and this took a long time, especially as the doctors in Switzerland were slow to send the receipts on to her.

The previous year Robert was mugged in south London. His attacker hit him with a length of scaffolding and Robert suffered a broken rib and a collapsed lung. He managed to struggle home, still with his wallet which the robber had failed to steal. Emma drove him to St Thomas' Hospital casualty department. He was moved to a private room, where he was able to stay until he had recovered. Robert feels that the extra care and attention he received there helped enormously.

Robert and Emma both believe that, with their sons Kester and Dylan, they cannot take any risks with health matters. They would prefer not to have to take out private medical insurance, but have found by experience that it is not just a luxury.

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