Blogpost: An American in Thurrock over Christmas praises the NHS

My First Experience of the National Health System.

By Marcia Elstob

CHRISTMAS Eve brought the start of a sore tooth. By Christmas morning it was a full blown unbearable pain with infection, and half my face swollen.

I wasn’t sure what to do, where was I going to go to get help? Being American, we are always told about how National Health is not the path we want to take in America, “You have to wait forever to be seen”; “You can’t see a doctor right away in case of an emergency.”

I was feeling complete despair, a true overwhelming feeling of complete helplessness. The comfort I got was telling myself, “You’re in a first world country and although you feel like you’re going to die, you’re not.”

Well, after finding some emergency dentists in Grays on the internet, I was able to call a phone number which directed me to 111.

On Christmas Day the voice on the other end was very kind during her triage of my symptoms. She assured me that Thurrock Hospital would get my information and a doctor would call me.

Sure enough, after a few minutes a doctor called and said another doctor would call me back that could better help with further instructions. Again, after waiting not too long I got the call. It was a young lady telling me I had an appointment this very afternoon.

I walked into the most welcoming and clean lobby area, the receptionist was very pleasant; never giving the slightest hint that she was having to work on Christmas Day.

With no tedious paperwork, providing identification, insurance cards, or copies, we were told to please have a seat.

After a short wait the provider called me in to the exam room. Again, from the horror stories I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t the very intelligent, kind, and patient physician who treated me.

I am now a very happy and pain free visitor who will be filling my prescription and allowed to get back to my Christmas Vacation.

A big shout out goes to the 111 system, the staff at the Thurrock Hospital and especially to Dr. Ragavan for seeing me….you saved Christmas!

Thank you

Marcia Elstob

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