The Real Cost of Healthcare

I’m on the hunt for a good therapist to help me manage endo – and one I can afford. Yes, there’s the National Health Service (I like in the UK), but I’ve seen several NHS therapists and you only ever get a few shorts weeks with them – not to mention a waiting list of up to a year. I’m looking for a therapist that I’ve chosen, whom I can afford, and who I can see for however long I need. But - money seems to be a barrier.

My financial challenges

Many of you who follow my work will know that I’ve taken a significant pay cut in the past few years to be able to manage my endometriosis and create a work life that helps me to keep my symptoms at bay; I’ve worked hard to manage and stretch a small income as far as it can go, so finding affordable support is essential in my current circumstances. Yet, the options I’ve found so far which offer discounted rates still cost several hundreds of pounds with an upfront payment. Is that really what affordable health care looks like?

Who can afford care?

Of course – I believe that practitioners should be paid, and paid well – after all, they’re changing and saving lives. These people have spent years and years studying, have accumulated lots of debt and give their time to helping others. I do not ascribe to the notion that people should always and only help others for free (unless of course, they’ve chosen to volunteer), everyone needs to make a living and even better if they can do it whilst supporting others. So my argument isn’t about the pay, my worry is that decent health care is out of reach for people who are really struggling – and how do we over come that?

While not every form of health care practitioner or wellness provider charges kinds of prices, it’s not just that which bothers me, it’s also the notion that it’s simply a matter of priorities. I’ve heard on multiple occasions that "if someone’s health really matters, they’ll reconsider their priorities".

Quality care shouldn't be a luxury

But what about those of us who don’t have the luxury of choosing priorities? It might sound extreme, but with nearly half the world living in poverty, in reality, it’s not. For some of us, it’s about a different set of priorities. It’s about choosing between having enough money to eat a healthy diet that keeps our symptoms down (or to eat at all), and having the money to have that extra healthcare.

Planning for the future

I am training to be a Integrative Women’s Health Coach, specialized in endometriosis, and of course, as my source of employment, I’ll charge for my services. But I’ll be damned if my prices are out of reach for some people. I haven’t worked out the logistics yet, but my plan is to offer a heavily discounted or free scheme, with perhaps a pay-it-forward option for those who can afford my services.

Not everyone can do this, and I appreciate I’ll probably mess up and get parts of this wrong along the way, but if we want to change the poor state of the world’s health, we have to start offering quality services to everyone, not just the scraps left behind, in whatever way we can. Why should people with less money or difficult circumstances, only have access to limited or mediocre care? Surely good mental and physical health should be extended to everyone?!

I urge the medical and wellness industries to reassess their "affordable payment plans" – and question, affordable to who? We have to stop thinking that a few hundred or a few thousand pounds is just a matter of priorities. For some people, it’s a matter of survival.

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