Charging For A Biospsy Is Sick

Yesterday I had a lovely phone call from my Mum (a nurse). We had a bit of a chat and catch up about this and that before I mentioned that I had seen York in the news recently. I asked her what her opinion was on the story a York based NHS GP surgery was sending letters out to patients charging them for minor operations.

Me: So what do you think? Especially as a A&E nurse?
Mum: It’s disgusting, but we had no choice but to pay.
Me: …excuse me?
Mum: Well it’s the village practice and your Dad was one of those that got a letter.
Me: The village practice? The one I grew up with?
Mum: Yes. Your Dad had a lump on his back and they wanted to biopsy it in case it was dangerous.They sent a letter to say because of cuts they couldn’t afford to fund minor procedures so they’d have to ask him to pay…

I was gobsmacked. I had expected her to talk about the effect it would have on A&E admissions in the long run rather than to explain that it was affecting my family directly. My father went to the doctors, worried by a lump on his back. Where he was told it could be malignant and needed a biopsy which understandably worried him more. The NHS GP’s then charged him for the biopsy. It disgusts me that they would do such a thing. They were checking to see if it was a tumor! Can you imagine what would have happened if he couldn’t pay? Can you imagine what would have happened if it turns out to be cancerous? My parents live in a village, they don’t have a choice of local GPs unless the drive. There are people in my parents village that don’t drive and therefore don’t have the choice. My father is privileged enough to be able to afford to pay for a biopsy but not everyone else is.

This is just a small taste of what’s going to start happening if the NHS Reform bill gets passed in the house of lords. I don’t want to see us move closer to a two tier health service where the poor have to choose between getting potentially cancerous lumps checked out and paying bills.

Today my thoughts are with all the amazing people who were able to make it to Westminster Bridge in London to take part in the UK Uncut action – Block the Bridge, Block the Bill. The NHS is too important to be destroyed. Free health care is too necessary to our continued fights for equality to be stripped away by a callous right-wing government.

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