NHS – Some good news at last.

Another year where the NHS has been in the public eye, with Budgets not keeping pace with  inflation and efficiencies to achieve there is a bit of  good news at last. It appears that the Government is looking into the issue that is causing a lot of controversy and infringes patient’s liberties – mixed sex wards.

According to a report published by health secretary Andrew Langley over 11,000 patients were subject to mixed sex accommodation during December alone.  It has become apparent that this report was in support of new Government legislation that will impose fines on hospitals.  For every patient that is subjected to mixed accommodation the hospital will be fined £250 per day.  So what will happen to all the money the Government is now collecting on your behalf? Well according to the report it will be re-invested into the NHS to help fund patient care.

This new legislation will be expected to arrive in April and Andrew Langley states, “By April, we expect every hospital to be capable of meeting the single sex accommodation standard.”  To help combat the issue, the Government is increasing the number of single rooms available to the NHS, although we are not entirely sure where this space is coming from.

One of the benefits of Private Medical Insurance is that you are guaranteed your own room. Premiums do not need to be expensive and policies can be tailored to suit your needs.

Source: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Statistics/Performancedataandstatistics/MixedSexAccommodation/index.htm

Would You Friend your Doctor?

I wanted to raise the debate about whether doctors with a profile on Facebook, may be compromising the doctor-patient relationship, because they do not use sufficient privacy settings? A fascinating piece of research was conducted recently in France with 405 post-graduate and trainee doctors who were surveyed about their Facebook habits; 73% of them were on the site and the findings raised some interesting question about patient interaction, and about the relationship between health care and social media.

Doctors I am sure already face potential challenges when it comes to use of e-mail with patients and the health industry as a whole stumbles in its forays into social media in general. So, here are some other stats from the French research to think about:

  • 6% had received friend requests from patients.  Would you consider this inappropriate?
  • 85% of the docs said they’d ignore a patients ‘Friend’ request regardless of who it was, 15% said they’d decide on a case-by-case basis;
  • Reasons given for accepting a friend request included some slightly coercive in nature: Fear of losing a patient or embarrassing them; and
  • Reasons for denying the request included a sense that it was unprofessional, or the patient had romantic intentions.

The researchers insist that friend requests are likely to become more common in the future.

Whether a doctor accepts or rejects a friend request could more be about what they use Facebook for. For example, where a Facebook site is more professional in nature or a place to share experiences, there’s probably less discomfort with letting a patient visit.

I do see some benefits as it allows the patient the opportunity to update their Doctor on their medical conditions since as we all experience very busy and crowded surgeries where our time with our GP is limited. Plus being on-line means the doctor should be able to reassure/treat the patient more easily and quickly.

However, I do wonder if there’s some protocol that shouldn’t be breached in the doctor- patient relationship in terms of socialising, or social media relations? Or is there value in removing the white-coated persona of social and professional stature that surrounds doctors, so that we view them as people with human traits such as compassion, the potential to err and prone to the occasional bad day.

I do believe there is the potential for breach of patient confidentiality. Plus, do the on-line discussions become part of a patient’s notes? How will the discussions be recorded? This is key as life/critical illness and medical insurance relies on information from doctors.

Is social media becoming a levelling ground in health care, allowing doctors to really listen and hear the voices of their patients? As social media is certainly a good tool for listening to people. Or are there other professions where a Facebook friendship would be questionable on ethical grounds?  Teachers? Following your doctors twitter feed isn’t likely to cause controversy since that’s a very public media. So where do we draw the line? What’s your view? Would you ever friend your doctor or other health care practitioner?


Sherwood Healthcare

Tel: 01277 822922





The Hangover

As we begin the New Year I am sure many of us will be nursing hangovers and thought I would give a few tips of how to deal with a bad hangover. However, before I start I just want to mention something we all are aware, yet forget when we are caught up in the festivities, and that there is significant dangers in drinking in excess, not only to yourself but to others, so do keep this in mind.

Anyway, back to the cures. Try to avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks like Coke if possible – they’ll only dehydrate you more, instead fruit juices are a good option as they contain salt which will help your body retain fluids; tomato juice is a good one. If you are wondering what causes a hangover, it is ethanol – the alcohol in your drinks; a toxic chemical that works in the body as a diuretic (which means it makes you go to the bathroom more and as a result become dehydrated). This is one of the main causes of the headache, dry mouth, dizziness and constant nausea. Your hangover eases as the body turns the ethanol into a less toxic chemical. The other factor that affects a hangover is the type of drink you have consumed. Dark drinks contain a substance called congeners that tend to make hangovers worse.

What are your hangover cures?

Sherwood Healthcare

Tel: 01277 822922




Is The Digital World Changing Our Attitudes To Our health?

This month I have a medley of news stories where technology and social media have caught my attention. It has made me think how the on-line culture has changed our attitudes to our health as we now reveal more details about our medical conditions in discussions on social networks, blogs, and other online forums than we share with our doctors! We talk about our experience with illness and the medications we’re taking in detail. We bring up issues we don’t realise are relevant to our treatment or that we’re too embarrassed to share face to face. As a positive result companies are now tapping into this and starting to gather this online chatter for valuable information that can identify trends in patient symptoms and outcomes, track the effectiveness of treatments, spot complications with drugs and drug interactions, identify patients for clinical trials, and identify market opportunities.

Another, news story that caught my eye is that Lord Darzi a former health minister has launched an iPhone application so patients can keep track of their NHS appointments and rate the services they use. Lord Darzi hopes people will use the app called the Wellnote in the same way that they use online hotel and restaurant review sites. It lets patients enter their medical history, including whether they have allergies, specific problems and their test results. The idea is that this record can be emailed or shown to a doctor if an emergency arises. The application contains a list of more than 2,000 medications to help people enter the specific drugs they take, and alerts can be created to tell patients when to take tablets and when they have an NHS appointment. Users can anonymously rate healthcare services in England in the same way they rate music on iTunes. The scores will appear alongside official ratings from the Care Quality Commission so patients can compare scores.

This is good feel story, as the winner of the UK’s first ‘AppJam’, that took place in Dundee, where enterprising apps are given awards, was ‘iGiveadam’. It was awarded the top prize for ‘Best Overall App’ and helps blood donors connect with each other through social media and reminds them of when they can next give blood. The app also provides locations of the user’s closest donation centre along with general public announcements. The app has already attracted considerable interest from a number of international firms looking to publish it for overseas territories.

In my last post I mentioned that it seems more and more people are turning to Doctor Google for their personal diagnosis and that medical professionals now have to bring the calm weight of their experience to the Googling patient. However, imagine this…a trainee doctor trawling for symptoms on their laptop. Physicians, we know that even you must resort to the web sometimes – but please, keep it hidden. We desperately need to believe that you know better than Doctor Google.

John Crisford, Director

Sherwood Healthcare

Tel: 01277 822922



Hello I am John Crisford, Director at Sherwood Healthcare

I’m John Crisford, director at Sherwood Healthcare, independent specialists and health insurance advisers. Each month I will bring you the latest UK and global news stories related to health. The stories that I think will be of interest to you personally, professionally and for business. I aim to write about the latest health matters, things that are about to happen, items that are making a difference and importantly create a conversation with you; I want to share knowledge and ideas. So, to kick off here are two stories that have caught my attention:

Martha Lane Fox, the UK’s Digital Champion believes cyberspace can be good for our health, and says the internet and mobile phones will be able to transform patients’ treatments. The Department of Health has launched a consultation process of how information and technology can help people take more control of their health, and make the best choices for themselves and their families. It will look at patients being able to view and share their medical records more easily, email their doctors and access relevant, accurate, user-friendly information. So a patient needing cancer surgery will be able to compare the results of all cancer surgery consultant teams in England and choose between them. Personally, I believe this is a good thing, as a recent YouGov poll found that 40 per cent believe the NHS can learn from the services offered by supermarkets, banks and utility companies! This also says to me that the public wants to see more innovation from the NHS and expectations are racing ahead; people want a better service.

This story reminds me of why I am in medical insurance. Growing up and then with my own family I have personally experienced and seen how ill-health can affect those we love and care about. I have used the NHS service and I believe in it; but I know the NHS is limited in what it can offer us. When the NHS was set up in 1948, it was only ever intended to provide a standard level of healthcare for us all and today, through my work as a specialist health insurance adviser it seems an increasing number of the British public want something more than the NHS can currently provide for; such as access to clean hospitals, no mixed wards, convenience and crucially a gold star treatment.

The other news item that I want to share with you is that while in the UK the government is going to be winding down the NHS Direct website, across the Atlantic starting soon is a new site called Sharecare.com, which will be an interactive social Q & A platform, providing people with what they want to know on health. Content on the site will come from organisations like the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Johns Hopkins and medical professionals.I would like to know your thoughts on either of these two topics, or anything else that you may have heard and would like to share; and if you would like to get in-touch please do. Till next month…I leave you with this thought that I recently read, ‘if you trust Google more than your doctor, then maybe it is time to switch doctors.’

E-mail: johncrisford@sherwoodhealthcare.co.uk

Tel: 01277 822922



Thinking about Private Medical Insurance then use a Broker

Healthcare Insurance

Good news from the ABI, who stated that the number of individuals in the UK enjoying Private Medical Insurance had finally broken through the six million mark.

It seems that consumers are taking the need for protection seriously and are implementing the necessary steps to ensure they are covered against the costs of treatment for acute medical conditions. Invariably this means that response to a condition requiring treatment would be much quicker than that offered by the NHS. The peace of mind that would come with such swift protection for you and your loved ones is immeasurable.

Choice of  Healthcare Plans

There is a lot of choice in selecting the most appropriate policy to suit an individuals Budget and Benefits requirements and it is preferable to use the services of a specialist healthcare broker to evaluate the options for you.

 If you are looking to save money, you could opt to allow the insurer to select any hospital in a limited range as opposed to limiting your choice of hospitals to a widespread few.

Whist the policy cover is wide there are terms and conditions that need to be explained.

 Healthcare – market changes

The market does change  year on year. New insurers and new products are introduced to the market and you need an expert to evaluate these to make sure that the current policy you have is still the best one for you.

Lifestyle changes

Similarly life changing events can happen and you need an expert to organise a review of your cover to check if a change of job, a new member to the family or a change in marital status regardless of direction will affect the level of cover you require or the amount you can afford. If there is an increase in your debt rather than cancel your Healthcare policy it may be wiser to talk through the various options first with your Broker before making a decision you may regret.

If anything that i have mentioned is of interest please do not hesitate to contact me by e.mail or LinkedIn.

John Crisford



Tele. 01277  822922

Sports injuries a problem for HR departments

Monday is always a great day for golf but lets correct that – all golfers believe that a bad day on the golf course is better than a good day at work.

Injuries can affect a game of golf but private medical insurance can help solve problems quickly.

A friend of my mine recently needed to undergo some physiotherapy prior to his usual Monday veterans match. With the help of his private medical insurer, treatment was administered quickly and effectively (no waiting list).

Thank goodness since a few hours later he managed to beat odds of 67 million to one (similar to winning the lottery four times) by scoring two holes-in-one in a single round of golf.

According to golfing pundits there is no record in the USA and England of two holes-in-one by one golfer in a match.

On a wider sphere sports injuries continue to be a major cause of lost working time. A few years ago there were over 22 million sporting injuries sustained in one year! (This is about 30% of the population.) Football is the number one sport for causing injuries with rugby second.
Most injuries are sprains or muscle pulls where early access to trained physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors will generally enable you to affect an early recovery.

So for those who play sports, private medical insurance (or the cheaper cash plans) is essential to get you back to work or on to the golf course quickly.

Please call contact us for a quotation on:



phone us on 01277-822922


At the core of most private health insurance policies is full cover for inpatient treatment. Your policy will meet the cost of initial consultations, surgeons’ and anesthetists’ fees, and the cost of the operating theatre, drugs and food and accommodation. You will pay only for extras such as newspapers, phone calls and visitors’ food.

Where there is more variation is in outpatient care. Here, insurers offer a range of options to suit different budgets. Most offer three levels of cover, Budget options do not offer any outpatient care, while mid-range policies will offer a limited amount, perhaps up to a limit of £1,000. Comprehensive policies cover outpatient treatment in full.

Mid-range policies are typically about 20% more expensive than the budget option, while comprehensive cover will cost up to 50% more. Although the selection of Hospitals does have a significant impact on price, with choices ranging from local to premier inner London Hospitals.

What you can afford is of course important; once this is established policies can be tailored to meet this target. This entails reviewing the budget/mid range and comprehensive options and then factoring the savings by choosing from an excess, reductions in cover, and the hospital range.

For best advice it is recommended that you speak to us at Sherwood Healthcare, we are both a specialist and independent broker.

Contact us @;



telephone 01277-822922

Shortage of Doctors boosts private medical insurance

Following on from the good news about the extra £50m that the NHS has sourced for innovative new cancer medicines we hear that there is a significant shortage, of Doctors, Nurses and associated professionals in the UK

The shortage of junior doctors is forcing the NHS to recruit hundreds of doctors from India this year. Tighter immigration rules introduced three years ago meant many overseas medics left the UK instead of taking up training posts. This, combined with European regulations restricting doctor working hours and childcare breaks, has left dozens of hospitals struggling to fill vacancies.

The report, recently published in the British Medical Journal, was seized on by doctors’ leaders . Unrest is growing among Britain’s 23,000 consultants at their growing workload caused by the drive to cut waiting lists. The British Medical Association claims an additional 4,000 doctors are needed just to compensate for the cut in junior doctors’ hours.

These recent uncertainties have seen a rise in the number of people considering taking out Healthcare plans / Private Medical Insurance (PMI) says the Consumers Association.
During its latest research, it showed that 40% of those questioned would strongly consider going private to avoid NHS waiting lists. Of these, 84% do not have existing medical insurance to fall back on.
Cost is often used as a barrier for not effecting cover however the Healthcare market is extremely competitive with Insurers having a number of options available to keep the costs down. These include the use of excesses, and a bespoke plan for your specific needs covering treatment and hospital lists.

Contact us for a quotation:



telephone – 01277 – 822922

NHS Cancer developments and Private Medical Insurance

The news from the Government that they have sourced an extra £50 million for the NHS to pay for innovative new cancer medicines from October is good news.

It is unclear exactly how this fund will work in practice. In principle, doctors will take responsibility for deciding how the funding is spent for individual patients, based on advice from cancer specialists

Hilary Tovey, policy manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “Anything that helps patients get drugs faster is welcome. We know that the UK has a low uptake of new drugs compared to other countries, and hope that this new fund will help address this.

“We look forward to seeing more detail about how the fund will work in practice and we will be monitoring its impact. We want to ensure that all cancer patients are getting the treatments which might benefit them.”

I suppose that there is always going to be some uncertainty especially with the pressures in the economy.

Of course private medical insurance can take away the uncertainties since it does provide cover for cancer with some Insurers meeting the Macmillan “Gold Standard” of cancer cover.

If you would like further information please contact us at:

enquiries @sherwoodhealthcare.co.uk


 telephone 01277 822922