My personal experience with the NHS – A three part story.

Typical "Ward"

Before I start I need to explain a couple of things.  Most will know these things, but some new readers might not.   We have spent the last 28+ years living in California.  Most of the time we had good health insurance, other times none.   But now we live in Northern Ireland. Here in Enniskillen, we have a new hospital:

Main Enterance
Main Entrance


Typical "Ward"
Typical “Ward”

“The new South West Acute hospital on Wolf Lough just north of Enniskillen, epitomises everything that is modern in a 21st century health service.   The £276m hospital will be the first facility of its kind in Northern Ireland to have single ensuite rooms for every patient.“

The ER in the USA is the A&E in the UK.  Ambulance service (999) here is the Paramedics (911) in the USA.  EKG and ECG mean the same (Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG from Greek: kardia, meaning heart)).  Got it?

Calling 911 with health insurance can be daunting as you never know what % you will still have to pay!  And going to ER, well need I add more?

While I lived in the USA I had a heart aneurism, but good health insurance and all was fine.  Six years on, we now live here (N. Ireland), and the health service has been unprecedented.

Introduction over.

Part One:

On the 27th I found it hard to breath, as this is one of the basic requirements for life, I got worried.  So I made an appointment to see my GP, at 11:30am I was waiting in the reception area.  Once called by my doctor, who told me off for not calling an ambulance right away, she took me straight into the nurses’ station and had an ECG carried out, and then called for an ambulance.

A few minutes later the ambulance arrived, and I was told off again, this time by the paramedics for not calling them right away, at this point a message is starting to sink in!  “You’re not in America anymore”.

A few minutes later and I have arrived in the A&E at the new hospital.  Within minutes I was surrounded by staff, taking blood, tapping, prodding etc.  So within a very short time I had another ECG, a chest xray and for blood samples taken.

Then, like ER’s everyplace, you wait…..  But as it was only 11:30am since I was at the doctors and now it’s about 3pm things have moved quite quickly.  About an hour later I sent up to Ward 1, the evaluation ward.  Everything has been so efficient, friendly, informative and helpful!   So where is this NHS I hear about on the news, not in Enniskillen!

After some time waiting for the antibiotic and other meds to take effect, I have another chest xray to make sure lungs looked ok.  With no sign of any chest infection I get to go home at about 9pm.

End Part One: