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So… I’ve now been to Harley Street!

… with only 8 days to the move, now has proven the time for me to get all of those ‘must dos’ out of the way in London, and whilst it sounds fantastically glamorous, I have to say that visiting a Doctor on Harley Street was NOT on my to-do list!

Regular readers and friends will be aware that I suffer from a condition called Hyperhidrosis.

(I’d really recommend http://www.hyperhidrosisuk.org/ if you feel you may be suffering from this or need further support with this condition)

Before you read the rest of this post, it’d be incredibly beneficial to read my previous post on the subject, and the funding cuts that have adversely affected my usual treatments.

Today, after two months of continuous ‘suffering’ from this condition after my last treatment wore off, and which also, incidentally, marred my Christmas, I finally had to cave in during a moment of desperation and get private treatment for my condition.

At a limited time ‘cut price’ rate, I had to pay £324 for Botox injections to my underarms, to help me deal with what is a widely recognised medical condition by the NHS. Normal price on the Private market is around £495 per treatment. Typically, you need two treatments per year.

Whilst I appreciate that Botox is an expensive treatment, if the NHS were to actually limit it to the more severe cases, of which I would qualify, they would protect the service for those who actually need it. More and more hospitals in the London area have pulled funding for these treatments, and now there are just one or two left, and a waiting list in excess of five months simply isn’t good enough! I’ve yet to see what the state of play is up in Manchester, however a quick Google of the services offered at Dermatology clinics across the NHS indicates nothing (fairly common across the UK, to be honest).

Simply, I cannot afford to keep dipping into my savings each year to fund this. This totally has to be just a one-off, and I now find myself with the very worrying prospect of needing further treatment in 6-9 months, and not being able to access anything. I move next week, and from then, I have 6 months to find somewhere, before I run into trouble again. Northern GPs are likely to be less sympathetic, I would imagine, so I am expecting to get absolutely fckd over by this, if honest.

The Doctor who I saw on Harley Street actually said that at the moment they were offering it at near cost price, as their board of Directors thought that the withdrawal of the treatment by the NHS was, frankly, scandalous and thus they saw themselves as providing a service to the man on the street. As you’d expect, their patient rate has gone haywire, and people are apparently beating their door down. It may have been spin from a Private sector Doctor, but I doubt it, as I went in there fully convinced and ready to pay up, and he knew that! He also said that, generally speaking, the profit margins (even at full price) on these treatments were absolutely tiny – it genuinely is that expensive.

It angers me that I don’t particularly lean on the State for anything in my life, bar this, and that the ever-increasing National Insurance payments that I (and we all) make are clearly not being collected or apportioned properly if the NHS are making cuts to services rather than bureaucracy. I certainly don’t begrudge the NI charge, and far from it (I’d happily pay more if it were ring-fenced and directly helped improve front-line services), but when services are being cut and the door slammed in people’s faces in this manner, it just isn’t right! During this latest period, I was feeling so depressed, and other issues flared up. You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, and thus not saving any money. In the long-term, you’re probably costing more to the NHS by failing to address the root cause! Even if the NHS were prepared to contribute a small amount to fund these treatments privately instead, with the patient left to pick up the difference, that would be a massive help.

I know that there will be people thinking that in times of austerity, that this is something of a luxury, and I cannot stress to you how wrong this idea is. If you had any idea just how much this destroys life as you know it, you’d come to see this for what it is, rather than something trivial. It has cost me a fortune in new t-shirts and hoodies in the last two months whilst I try to deal with this, and emotionally, I am drained.

All that said, the clinic that I went to were absolutely fantastic – same day service, and they weren’t stingy with the injections (you have around 15 in each area… again, not as glamorous as people say it is, it hurts!!) – so this time, I had a lot of Botox (one benefit of going Private!). The whole experience was so much better, and frankly, you get a much more qualified person doing it, who is a specialist in the area, and really knows his stuff. If I had the money, I’d go back again in a heartbeat! Whilst I do really champion the NHS, I have had a very mixed experience with them in the administration of my prior treatments.

The service was amazing, and from the moment I went into the grand waiting room (see below), I caught myself thinking that I could never go back to the NHS ever again!! ha! ;)

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So yeah, there you have it – I’ve now seen a Doctor on Harley Street! How glam am I?! ha!

It felt rather Victorian, terribly grand and slightly macabre to be seen dipping into one of the imposing houses on Harley Street for untold processes, especially knowing that all up and down the street, loads of secret procedures were also going on behind closed doors!

Now, if anyone happens to know a sugar-daddy who can slip me a couple of hundred in six months time, that would be fantastic! Also, if any companies would like to offer corporate sponsorship, I would totally shave your logo into my underarm hair! ;) #justsayin ha!

In all seriousness though, this is a serious problem for me, and moving to Manchester represents a huge and scary void on this aspect, as I have no current idea as to service provision up North, and there is simply no way that I can afford £500 to go privately once again. I genuinely have no idea what I am going to do, and for now, I simply cannot even think about it – it upsets me quite a lot!

My message remains the same Mr Lansley – pull your act together, and start sticking to the promises that you and your cronies made in the Manifesto. No cuts to the NHS. 

All I want is a Welfare State that actually gives a flying fuck about my welfare. The clue is in the name, and when we’re talking about a service that directly affects all 65 million of us, NHS cuts are far from trivial. Sort it out, stop being frivolous with public money and allow the NHS to be able to dig deep!

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3 thoughts on “So… I’ve now been to Harley Street!”

  1. Really interesting reading this as a liberal American and someone suffering from HH myself. Awesome to hear botox can last up to six months. I’m entering the stage of life where friends are getting married. Which means dresses and the idea of having to wear a bridesmaid dress that shows pit stains is TERRIFYING. So I imagine going in for botox treatments.

    Here in America we have quite the healthcare fiasco. I too cannot afford to shell out hundreds of dollars to feel a little more normal. Hopefully our voices will be heard.

    Cheers!
    Sara

  2. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment – really hope that you’re able to look into Botox. I had some great news yesterday – I’ve been allocated funding from the NHS to continue with my treatments, so I’m having my Botox re-done next week. I really hope that you guys get the Healthcare package go through – the NHS is one of the very best things about the UK, and it’s awful to think that even in America, there are people unable to access treatments! Best of luck!

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