Saturday, 15 August 2009
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!