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As a nurse, and a mom to a little girl with complex health issues, I often see all too clearly ways in which our National Healthcare Service (NHS) is broken. 

I’ve lived on both sides of the waters, the UK and the United States, so I’ve seen my fair share of successes and failings of both healthcare systems.

I know it’s a sensitive topic, public versus private healthcare.

But I have seen first-hand how sometimes, privatised healthcare trumps.

Like when your ex-premature baby with a chronic lung condition and frequent hospitalisations, despite our best efforts and interventions, needs a $14k piece of kit.

The VEST (by Hillrom) has been hugely instrumental in keeping my daughter healthy, and helping her when she is sick. We couldn’t be without it.

Basically it is home chest physiotherapy provided by a machine. From their website:

The Vest™ Airway Clearance System, Model 105, is a designed to assist patients in the mobilisation of retained secretions that, if not removed, may lead to increased rates of respiratory infection, hospitalisation and reduced lung function.

To get this prescribed and provided for my daughter in the States, I went to her pulmonologist and asked could we give it a try.

She prescribed it, the company made contact, and our private healthcare insurance made payments over a year until it was paid in full.

Yes, we had family co-pays and deductibles over the year, but it was nothing compared to the cost of the VEST and other therapies and treatments Brielle received.

I am sure this VEST has kept her out of hospital countless times. And we have even used our own machine in the hospital on a few occasions when she was really sick. Here in Northern Ireland, my daughter would not have gotten this therapy on the NHS. Several of her doctors have told me so.

That is why I am so upset and frustrated for my dear friend.

Her beautiful daughter simply is not being provided for by the NHS. She is 15-years-old, has Down’s syndrome and also suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy as a result of negligent care in hospital as an infant. The health and social care Trust finally reached a settlement to build her a purpose-built extension.

But she has never had proper nursing or social care at home, as a support or respite, it’s unbelievable.

They’ve had to self-fund so many therapies and equipment that should have been provided by the health service!

The latest issue is her chest.

The consultant and GP both recommend that she have a VEST machine, deep suction and nebulizer at home to keep her chest healthy and secretions mobilised. But why can no one provide these for them once they’ve been recommended and prescribed? It’s ridiculous and shows how broken the system is.

They will have to source these vital pieces of equipment themselves, with no support from the professionals. It’s just not right, when supports and services are supposed to be in place.

She keeps plodding on, my friend.

She is a wonderful mama and she stops at no length to get what she needs for her precious girl, despite the system.

 

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