Health,  Life

8 Months to Treat a Mouth Ulcers: The Frustrating Reality of UK Healthcare

  How long does it take to treat a mouth ulcer in London?
  one day? That is impossible. It’s not like China. You register in the morning and go to see the doctor in the afternoon. If you can’t get registered with a regular number, you’ll have to register with a specialist number, and the registration fee will only be a few hundred yuan. Two weeks? London is not Madrid, Spain, and it is impossible. Everyone can just take a guess.
  Oral ulcers are a long-standing problem of mine that has existed for more than 20 years. In the past two years, they have become more and more serious. I have two or three ulcers almost every day, which is really miserable. At this time last year, a huge ulcer developed on the tip of my tongue. It hurt for nearly two months. The pain was so painful that I suspected it was a sign of tongue cancer, so I made up my mind to see a doctor.
  Why didn’t you want to see a doctor before? Because it’s too troublesome. My designated GP (General Practitioner, equivalent to a community hospital in China) is less than ten minutes’ walk from my home. The service is very good, but making an appointment is troublesome.
  When I first came to London, my spoken English was relatively poor. Upon seeing this, the front desk immediately made an appointment for an interpreter for me every time I saw a doctor. The first time I saw this battle, I was shocked and thought I had to pay for it myself. Actually no, it’s completely free. In this regard, London is much better than Madrid – when I was in Madrid, because I didn’t understand Spanish, I often had to turn on my mobile phone to ask Spanish friends for online translation when I was seeing a doctor.
  Once, when my child was in an emergency, the GP front desk directly called a taxi for me. The attitude and service were impeccable. But the problem is that it’s too troublesome to make an appointment. Each appointment lasts at least two weeks. I’ve become accustomed to putting up with ordinary minor illnesses and pains. Anyway, by the time of the appointment, these minor symptoms were basically cured. Therefore, except for visiting GP two or three times when I first arrived in London, I have never visited GP again since then.
  But this time I really can’t stand it anymore, so I’ll go see a doctor.
  Most dental clinics in the UK are in dental clinics, and we have a private insurance designated dental clinic, which is also very convenient – except that the appointment queue is also relatively long, usually two months. The dentist was very gentle and patient. He told me that he would make an appointment with a specialist, which would take about a month. Then he told me that there is an ingredient in ordinary toothpaste called sodium lauryl sulfate, and some people are prone to allergies. , I suggest that I try to avoid it when I choose toothpaste next time, and test whether this is the reason.
  So I went home and waited. Within a few days, I received an appointment call from the specialist, who informed me in detail about the time and cost of the consultation, which was about three to five hundred pounds. Then, the problem comes: dental treatment is done at a dental clinic, and oral ulcer treatment is also done at the dentistry, but this does not fall under dental insurance, but ordinary medical insurance. And we stopped the ordinary private medical insurance half a year ago, leaving only dental private medical insurance.
  The reason why it was stopped at that time was that when the child went to see the GP, the connection with the emergency department was very smooth, and private insurance did not play any role. Although private insurance can speed up the queue, we arrived at the emergency room at around 10 a.m. on the first day and waited until about 7 p.m. the next night to wait for the doctor. While the anesthesiologist was diligently inducing anesthesia on the child, the child’s large pustule burst on its own. As a result, there was no need for anesthesia or surgery. The doctor just bandaged and cleaned it, and we left.
  After thinking about it, three to five hundred pounds is not a small sum for us. Anyway, the worst pain is over, and I have endured it for more than 20 years, so I will endure it for a little longer. So I refused the appointment and went back to the free NHS system (British National Health Service).
  I made an appointment in June this year, and finally fell in love with it on October 15th, with a gap of more than 4 months. The intermediate clinic called me twice to check my personal information and the time and location of the treatment. It also sent me a very detailed letter, specifically mentioning that the cost of this treatment to the NHS was 167 pounds. Don’t be late or miss your appointment. , the implication is not to waste public finances.
  Finally, I saw the doctor, which lasted only 15 minutes. The doctor gave me a few pieces of paper, which detailed the causes and treatment methods of oral ulcers, and gave me pain relief spray and mouthwash.
  I’m not particularly disappointed with this result because I’m used to it. I have also visited various outpatient clinics in China, and I also saw traditional Chinese medicine for more than half a year, but they had no effect on my oral ulcers. I thought that changing the medical system might be useful, but reality remains reality.
  However, this doctor answered a few of my questions: First, oral ulcers have nothing to do with oral cancer; second, oral ulcers have nothing to do with the immune system; third, anxiety does not cause oral ulcers, but it makes oral ulcers more painful. The doctor’s answer made me feel relieved. It seems that we will have to continue to coexist with ulcers in the future, tormenting each other and understanding each other.
  Finally, the doctor said that the ulcer might be caused by a lack of certain trace elements, so he gave me a blood test. I made an appointment online and the blood draw date was scheduled for mid-January next year.
  So, as far as my experience is concerned, it will take about eight months to complete the entire process of treating oral ulcers in London, from June this year to January next year. And from the time I made an appointment, made an appointment with a dentist, made an appointment with a specialist, to switched from private to public and then made an appointment… a whole year passed before I even finished the treatment.
  Of course, different hospitals in different regions may have different requirements. However, the long queues of the British NHS are indeed a “long-standing problem”. In September this year, I saw a report in The Guardian stating that the average waiting time for treatment in nearly 40% of NHS hospital departments was more than 18 weeks, and some were even as long as more than 30 weeks. Therefore, my experience is not an exception, but the norm. Moreover, my pain is really not serious compared to other patients.
  In the UK, dental care can be a frustrating experience. We used to live in South West London, and the dental clinics near our home were overcrowded. We wanted to queue up for free dental services for our children, but we waited in line for more than half a year and saw no action. Then I moved to south London and it was easier to get in line.
  Why do you want free dental services when you already have private dental insurance? Because dental care is too expensive in the UK. My child discovered that he had two cavities. The dentist suggested that he needed root canal treatment, but the original designated dental clinic couldn’t do it. Private insurance recommended two more dental clinics, but they still couldn’t do it. Finally, he found a clinic specifically for children that could do it, but the budget was 3,000. Many pounds. Even after taking out the insurance (the level of insurance we bought is not that high and the reimbursement ratio is limited), I still have to pay nearly 2,000 pounds.
  As a mother, I am also very hesitant – I have paid more than 200 pounds for the check-up myself. Thinking that the baby teeth will eventually fall out, I decided to endure it and return to the NHS system, because the NHS can treat children’s teeth for free.
  Finally, in the summer, we got a free NHS seat at a dental clinic near our new home. As a result, the dentist told me to leave it alone and wait until it rots and hurts on its own before dealing with it. The matter was shelved again.
  Finally, I lament the “embarrassing journey” of seeing a doctor in a foreign country – I really can’t afford free medical treatment, and I can’t afford self-paid medical treatment.

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