Saturday, 15 August 2009

Saturday download

Lots of things to blog about today. They have been whirring round in my mind in the early hours, so here goes.
First of all, a subject very dear to my own heart. I would recommend you pop over to Expat Mum's blog for her post on mobile/ cell phone charges. She got stung and so did I! Take heed.
We got caught out by these data roaming charges when we were in the US. On my IPHONE, if I go into settings and fiddle round a bit I find a tiny advice note on my screen telling me to 'turn off data roaming' when abroad to avoid charges. I knew nothing about this. After two weeks of holidaying I had run up a bill of £1000 ($1750or thereabouts). You can buy a lot of holiday goodies for that. I was very upset.
Other half contacted our service provider and they said we could get most of the money back based on a 'bill shock' scheme. I have had a long standing contract with the provider and they said that the usage was obviously irregular and therefore an honest 'mistake' on my part.
I am now amazed at how many other people are being 'caught out' and not everyone is getting a refund like I did. Not the type of money most people can spare or having lying around eh?
So please take care folks. I wasn't told when I took the contract out, and I didn't sign anything to say I understood data roaming charges abroad. Hopefully the service providers will take better care to tell people about what is a draconian and unfair charging system ( or that they will be forced to!!).

The other issue that has been causing my hair to stand on end is the great UK/US NHS debate. Which is the better system and so forth. I am sure there is merit in both. I am all for choice, and I think it is absolutely fine to have the option of private medical care if you can afford it. My own limited experience of private medical care is it is quicker, the doctors spend more time with you and the surroundings are more comfortable. Some say that in some circumstances the medical care is more advanced and sophisticated. I wouldn't know about that but I assume that for some situations it will be the case.

I am an experienced patient (alas) in the NHS, and I work in the system for much of my professional life. I know a lot about it, and it is full of inefficiences. It is not perfect, and there is much that can be done to improve it. But the bottom line is I probably not be alive now if it wasn't for the NHS. As a twice cancer survivor at the tender age of forty four, I am completely uninsurable. I would have lost my house by now in the US system, and I don't know what would be happening to me with my current medical troubles. We would probably would have lost our house by now to pay my medical bills.

It doesn't bear thinking about. People having to worry about paying medical bills when they are fighting for their lives is frankly, to me, completely indefensible. To worry about the insurance company possibly rejecting a claim, or terminating a policy. It doesn't bear thinking about. Free at the point of use- that is what the NHS is all about. For everyone. If you call an ambulance or need a doctor you don't need an insurance policy or a credit card. Whether you are rich or poor no questions are asked- you get the help and no arguments. Now that is what civilised society is all about as far as I am concerned, and I will fight to protect it with all my strength. I don't think I feel more strongly about anything... well perhaps this and the right for women to be bishops...but that's for another day!


Jess said...

Thanks for the warning although we don't have those iphones...but if we get them...I will know.

Hope all is well and that you have a great weekend and a great week ahead.

Love, Jess

Nota Bene said...

As I'm about to pop off for my hols, I'll check my phone before I go... for the NHS, there's a lot of nonsense being talked about it across the pond, even if it's far from perfect...

Hadriana's Treasures said...

What we did last year in Europe was buy a SIM card to use over there. Hubbie's worked - mine did not. It was a minimal cost...£30 or £40 or s.t. I think mine did not work because I did not have correct handset (or s.t.).

It did save us a lot of money though.

Agree with you about NHS. Blog from the North has written about the differences between US & UK and has gone for the French model. That may be so but France is going to have huge financial problems one day. Mark my words!

Anonymous said...

Rock on, K J Schori!!! :D Heh heh... that one was obviously from the US. Hope you're feeling better! x

Jan Blawat said...

Thank you for your comments on both these topics. I have a new iPhone (in the US) and wasn't aware of the roaming charges. And, of course, the question of medical coverage is a big one here right now.

karengberger said...

This is illuminating, about the NHS. I had not known that you are a cancer survivor! HOORAY for you - I love survivors!
The cell phone debacle has also happened chez nous. Terrible. Our provider promised to wipe out the huge bill, if our teen agreed to a slightly increased plan...and failed to document the offer. The next person with whom he spoke offered to wipe out (forgive) half of the bill, again with the increased service ($10 more per month). That was still a good deal, so our teenager took it. And he will be paying that extra $10, and the big bill (it was due to texting, not roaming). The "conveniences" aren't always convenient.

Ms B. Thrift said...

I totally agree with all you said about the NHS it's not a perfect system and there is a lot of room for improvement (like removing a lot of middle management and contracted out nursing/cleaners etc) but it's been a life line to us over the years and like you sadly, we'd have been bankrupt over medical bills if things were similar to the US system, i think health care is something that should be available to all not just the priviliged who can afford to pay for top treatment.

Granny on the Web said...

Thanks for the info, I have an iphone, but haven't used it abroad, but one of these days, I will be doing.
I think you have put into words exactly how I feel about this debate about the NHS. We have had nothing but fantastic care during our needy moments.
Love Granny