Ebola virus

Ebola virus

Ebola virus – this deadly disease is still the subject of much debate with high level discussions continuing at the World Health Organisation, hopefully with further positive outcomes.

Are we safe in the UK?

Well  the risk is low unless you have travelled to a known infected area and had direct contact with a person with Ebola-like symptoms, or had contact with an infected animal or contaminated objects.

Fingers crossed, there have been no imported cases of Ebola in the UK. And while it is possible that someone infected with Ebola could arrive in the UK on a plane, the virus is not as easily transmitted as a respiratory virus such as influenza.

The NHS provide up to date advice including symptoms on the following web site:


Overseas medical insurance – Mrsa and waiting lists could be the least of your problems!

Overseas medical insurance – Mrsa and waiting lists could be the least of your problems!

In this age of mobile employment it is important that before sending staff to overseas countries that their medical coverage is closely checked to make sure that they and their family are adequately protected and also meet local regulations. Leaving matters to chance is not an option.

The policies should meet all of the charges they might otherwise face were they to be hospitalised, plus out-patient specialist treatment fees, GP consultation charges and the cost of prescription drugs.

Other options available might include routine dental treatment (including regular check ups) pregnancy and childbirth and even the option to be evacuated to a different country should the necessary local medical standards be suspect. If you think that MRSA and waiting lists are an issue at home, overseas they can be the least of your problems!

It may also be possible to include some pre-existing conditions.

In regard to overseas employees who relocate to the UK, international policies, whist more expensive than a UK only policy, will provide the following additional benefits:

  • Option for maternity cover and routine dental treatment
  • Private GP visits rather than NHS GP’s
  • Cover for hazardous activities
  • Benefits for some Chronic Condition
  • The territorial limits can be easily extended

It is important to remember that employees are of great value to their Employer and provide its intellectual capital. They not only bring their skills and talents; they also bring ideas and creativity to the table. Employees bring innovation, commitment and a desire to learn.  So to maintain this positive contribution please make sure that  when sending them out into the world, away from home, that they and their families have appropriate medical protection.

Naturally if you would like further information or advice then please contact me at:  johncrisford@sherwoodhealthcare.co.uk

John Crisford

Tel: 01277 822922
Twitter: @SherwoodHealth


NHS – Excessive spending on paper, clips and gloves.

Yesterday (2 February 2011) a report published by The National Audit Office (NAO) discovered that the NHS could be spending as much as £500m on stationary. From January 2010 to January 2011 the NHS purchased around 66,000 products, most of which were unused, overpriced or simply not needed.

The report continues to warn Ministers that the current “reforming” will reduce the governments influence over the NHS purchasing practises. According to the report (which only includes English hospitals) there were discrepancies with various purchases made throughout the year. Across the 66,000 items purchases there was an average cost variation of 10%, however 5,201 items managed to hit a staggering 50%.

The report goes on to claim that on average each Trust will be able to save between £900,000 and £1.5m per year by paying the lowest price at point of purchase.

Across the 61 trusts 1000 orders were made last year for A4 paper alone. In addition because trusts are not collaborating on orders, there are lots of small purchases and Trusts are missing out on discounts for bulk orders.

Also on four of the key product areas (Gloves, Cannulas, Administration Sets and Paper) it is estimated that by consolidating weekly purchases the 61 trusts, collectively, could save £635,000 per year, in addition by consolidating on monthly purchases the trusts could increase savings to £918,000 per year.

As a result of the trusts not buying in bulk , there is a huge variation in what is ordered by each trust. For example, “21 different types of A4 paper, 652 different types of surgical and examination gloves, 1751 cannula (tubes inserted to remove fluid) 260 different types of administration sets (different types of drip/blood sets, i.e. IV).

Key parts of the Governments reforms for the NHS involve hospitals having MORE independence, inferring that the Department of Health will be unable to influence the purchasing decisions of the hospitals.

NAO goes on to claim that by buying more efficiently, using bulk orders and buying less frequently could save hospitals a minimum of £500 million per year.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said today:

  • “At least 10 per cent of hospitals’ spending on consumables, amounting to some £500 million a year, could be saved if Yrusts got together to buy products in a more collaborative way.
  • “In the new NHS of constrained budgets, Trust chief executives should consider procurement as a strategic priority. Given the scale of the potential savings which the NHS is currently failing to capture, we believe it is important to find effective ways to hold Trusts directly to account to Parliament for their procurement practices.”

Should the government be looking into addressing this problem? Is this a short fall in their newly developed NHS reform? If the reform goes ahead could the problem get even worse as hospitals become more independent of each other?

Source: http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/1011/nhs_procurement.aspx

John Crisford
Tel: 01277 822922
E-mail: johncrisford@sherwoodhealthcare.co.uk
Web: www.sherwoodhealthcare.co.uk
Twitter: @SherwoodHealth

SME’s Managing a work life balance

Managing a work-life balance.

To help small business owners find a way of managing their work-life balance a significant benefit of Private Medical Insurance is the flexibility of Doctors and Consultants who make sure that they provide flexible appointments to suit these very busy business owners.

One in four small business owners has cancelled or put off a health appointment in the last year because of work commitments, according to a survey from Abbey and Alliance & Leicester Business Banking (Santander Group).

Business owners who work the longest hours are most likely to put their work before their health, with more than four in ten (43%) small business owners who work between 50 and 60 hours a week having put off or missed a health appointment due to work.

The research also revealed that a third (33%) of small business owners are now working over 50 hours per week, while one in six (15%) are working in excess of 65 hours.

Whilst the tough economic climate is forcing many small business owners to work incredibly hard missing health appointments for the sake of a heavy workload can be a false and possible a fatal economy.

It is normal for Doctors and Consultants to be available for appointments outside of normal business hours generally up to 9pm in the evening plus Saturday mornings.

So there is now no excuse for missed health appointments or for small business owners to sacrifice their health for their wealth.

Healthcare continues to be in the news for other reasons:

Lots of comment regarding the future level of Government funding for the NHS, it certainly seems that the funding has now peaked.

Hospital managers for the last few years have managed an increasing NHS budget how will they cope with a static or reducing figure. What services will be cut?

Clean, infection free hospitals are still given as one of the main reasons for purchasing Private Medical Insurance despite the NHS trying to clean up their act!

Mixed sex wards are still a feature of treatment in the NHS. When will this be eradicated?

Please do not hold your breath.

The healthcare insured population has held up well during the last year but the emphasis is now on buyers searching for alternative options and tailoring the cover to suit their needs and Budget.

The Healthcare market has responded well to the challenge and we are able to provide products with a menu of options. Plus innovations which introduce fixed priced products with the option of selecting your own premium level and receiving a return of a proportion of premium in the event of no claims.

Recognising a stroke


A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within a few hours he can significantly limit the effects of a stroke. The trick is getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within a few hours, which is tough.

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognise the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognise a stroke by asking three simple questions:

Ask the individual to SMILE.
Ask the person to TALK coherently and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (i.e. It is sunny out today)
Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this: Ask the person to ‘stick’ out his tongue.. If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call the emergency services immediately and describe the symptoms.

Appalling hospital conditions – August 2009

Shocking accounts of hospital care published by the Patients Association

Since the release of the” Patients not Numbers, People not Statistics” report by the Patients Association on the 27th August 2009 overwhelming response has been received from the press. It was the main news story throughout the day and received wide coverage in the media.

These accounts tell the stories of NHS patients being left in soiled bed clothes, ignored by nursing staff, suffering constant falls, receiving inadequate pain relief, late diagnosis, misplaced notes, the list goes on and on.

The report also makes it clear that in many cases nurses are facing an impossible task trying to care for too many patients whilst having to fill out reams of paperwork.

The results are disturbing and you can understand why individuals are prepared to forgo their holidays to fund private medical insurance.

To read a small selection of the coverage, please visit the links below:

BBC News


The Telegraph

The Times

Daily Mail

The Guardian

The Independent

What is Private Medical Insurance ?

Private Medical Insurance explained…

Q What is Private Medical Insurance?

Q What am I covered for? What is excluded?

Q What will affect my premiums?

Q Will I need to provide details of my health?

Q What is Moratorium Underwriting?

Q What is a Medically Underwritten Plan?

Q Will my cover be affected if I am disabled?

Q How do I make a claim?

Q Which Companies do D J Healthcare recommend?

Q I am in good health – what are the chances of falling ill?

Q Can I depend on the NHS?

Q What are the benefits of Private Medical Insurance Schemes?

Q How much do operations cost?

Q How is the Private Medical Insurance Industry regulated?

Q What is Private Medical Insurance?

A Private Medical Insurance is principally* designed to cover the costs of private medical treatment for short-term illnesses or injuries – commonly known as acute conditions. Most people buy this type of insurance to gain the reassurance of knowing that treatment is available promptly, should they become ill or injured. As a private patient you can usually choose where and when your treatment is to take place, the specialist who treats you and the hospital. You will usually have a private room with en-suite facilities, complete with TV, telephone and the freedom to entertain your visitors’ at all reasonable times. This allows you to plan your treatment around your personal and business life.

*One or two Insurers may be prepared to provide terms for cancer and chronic conditions.

Q What am I covered for? What is excluded?

A Private Medical Insurance is designed to principally cover treatment for short-term illness or injuries. Some illnesses and treatments are not usually covered and these are common to most schemes. It is also important to remember that Private Medical Insurance is not designed to replace all the services offered by the NHS. These include accident and emergency treatment, which are beyond the scope of most private hospitals. The level of cover provided depends on your choice of insurance company and the type of plan selected.

Listed below are some very general guidelines. However it is important that you consult your Private Medical Insurance specialist…

Usually included – treatment in the UK:

· Hospital costs including:

· Accommodation

· Nursing care

· Operating Theatre

· Intensive Care and other ancillary charges

Included only – in certain plans:

· Out-patient tests

· Out-patient consultations with a specialist

· Overseas cover

· Cash payment for treatment received as an NHS in-patient

Usually excluded:

· Conditions you had before taking out the insurance (commonly known as pre-existing conditions)

· GP services

· Cover for long-term illnesses which cannot be cured (usually referred to as chronic conditions)

· Accident and emergency admissions

· Drug abuse, self-inflicted injuries, HIV/AIDS, infertility, normal pregnancy, cosmetic surgery, gender reassignment, preventive treatment, kidney dialysis, mobility aids, experimental treatment, experimental drugs, organ transplant, war risks, injuries arising from dangerous hobbies, and out-patient drugs and dressing.

Q What will affect my premiums?

A Whichever plan you choose, it is likely that your premiums will rise above the rate of general inflation. This is because of factors which affect how healthcare is provided in all western economies.

Each year more people claim on their insurance cover for private medical treatment. A hip replacement costs around £6,000 and is a common procedure, particularly for older patients.

The number and sophistication of treatments to improve quality of life is increasing steadily. Most Private Medical Insurance policies aim to cover these treatments as they become established medical practice and available privately.

Likewise, the sophistication and complexity of tests used to diagnose illness and injury is also increasing. Such tests are becoming far more widely available in private hospitals – for example, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans which costs around £500 each.

As people get older they are more likely to need and receive medical treatment, which means that Private Medical Insurance premiums will increase with age to reflect this.

Q Will I need to provide details of my health?

A This depends on the method of underwriting you choose.

Moratorium underwriting – details of your medical history is not required.
Medically underwritten – full details of your medical history is required.

Q What is Moratorium Underwriting?

A This is when you are asked to fill in a form, but you are not asked to give details of your medical history. Instead, the insurance company does not cover any medical condition which existed for a stated period of time, usually in the last five years. These conditions may automatically become eligible for cover, but only when you do not have symptoms, or receive treatment, medication, test and advice (from your GP or a specialist) for that condition for the stated continuous period (usually two years), after your policy has started. If your insurance company offers a “moratorium” policy, they will give you printed information explaining how their particular moratorium works – you should always ask your Private Medical Insurance consultant to explain this for you.

Q What is a Medically Underwritten Plan?

A You will be asked to fill in a form, giving details of your medical history. If necessary, the insurance company may write to your doctor for more information. It is essential that you give all the information you are asked for. If you don’t, it could affect your claim. If you are not sure whether or not to mention something, it is best to do so. If you have a medical condition which is likely to come back, it will probably be excluded, either indefinitely, or for a set period of time.

Q Will my cover be affected if I am disabled?

A Insurance companies will not refuse to cover you because you are disabled. As with other
pre-existing conditions, your insurance company may exclude cover for treatment arising directly from your disability.

Q How do I make a claim?

A Apart from emergency admissions to NHS hospitals, all medical treatment has to start with a referral by your GP to an appropriate specialist. At this point you should inform your GP that you have Private Medical Insurance. You should also then contact your insurance company to check that you are covered for the treatment that you will receive. In fact, some insurance companies insist that you do this. Your specialist will probably need to fill in and sign your claim form. Most insurance companies settle the hospital and specialist bills directly, but you should check this out with your Private Medical Insurance consultant before taking up a particular Private Medical Insurance plan. Some insurance companies make it a condition of the policy that you must pay all your bills for treatment and then reclaim the costs – this can cause serious cash flow problems.

Q Which Companies do D J Healthcare recommend?

A We work with most of the well-known names in the UK as well as some dynamic lesser-known providers. We will research the marketplace on your behalf and make our recommendations based on your particular individual or corporate situation.

Q I am in good health – what are the chances of falling ill?

A The disturbing facts of life are that in the UK

· Each year over 130,000 people suffer a stroke and 80% of these survive at least one year or more

· One in three people will contract cancer sometime in their life

· One in four healthy men in the UK between 20 and 40 will have contracted a critical illness before age 65. For women, this is one in five and, of those who develop cancer, 40% will survive 5 years or longer

· One in six healthy men will suffer a heart attack before they reach 65 yrs of age

Q Can I depend on the NHS?

A The NHS offers an excellent service for emergencies. However, there are over a million people today waiting for NHS treatment, many of whom have been waiting twelve months or more.

Q What are the benefits of Private Medical Insurance Schemes?

A You could wait over 12 months for a non-urgent operation under the NHS and may think of going “private”. Some typical costs of treatment are outlined below, which could prove prohibitive if you do not carry insurance. Under private schemes, you can be operated on quickly (within days) and have nursing care at home whilst you recuperate. Additionally, if you carry Income Protection and Private Medical Insurance, your income will be protected for up to a year, for a prolonged illness or medical condition which prevents you working. Critical Illness Insurance would cover you if permanently incapacitated.

Q How much do operations cost?

A Average costs (Source: Bupa):

· Open Heart Surgery £10,600

· Hip Replacement £7,000 – £8,900

· Spinal Operation £4,500

· Mastectomy £3,429

· Hysterectomy £4,000 – £5,050

· Gall Bladder Removal £3,500 – £5,800

· Cataract Removal £1,800 – £2,900

· Hernia Operation £1,300 – £2,450

· Tonsillectomy £1,550 – £2,150

· Skin Lesion Removal £300

Q How is the Private Medical Insurance Industry regulated?

A The selling of Private Medical Insurance by D J Healthcare comes under the Code of Practices of the following organisations:


· British Association of Insurers

· Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries

· The British Insurance Brokers’ Association

Most insurance companies have their own complaints procedures in place; so if you have a problem with any part of your cover, speak to your insurance company first. If you are not satisfied with the way in which your complaint is handled, you can contact either The – Financial Ombudsman Service or the Personal Insurance Arbitration Service – depending on which one your insurance company uses.

Is your European Health Insurance Card current?

IF you are travelling in Europe, make sure your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid and up to date.

The Department of Health has said that more than three million cards will have expired by the end of the month.

Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said: “Anyone travelling with an expired EHIC is putting themselves at risk – they will not be covered for basic medical care.

“It is vital that UK residents holidaying in Europe carry their EHIC and take out adequate travel insurance to avoid having to pay out unnecessarily for medical costs that could be covered by a valid EHIC.”

The EHIC, which replaced the E111 form in 2005, entitles people to reduced costs or free state-provided healthcare in most European countries should they fall ill or have an accident.

The EHIC can be renewed online via the NHS website or over the phone and will be delivered within ten days; it can also be renewed up to six months in advance of expiry.