As some of you already know a few weeks ago I was very kindly invited to BMI The Park Hospital in Nottingham.
I don’t think I’m far wrong in saying that most of us would invest time and money ensuring that our car doesn’t break down, or that our house is in half-decent shape. But what about our health? For some MAD reason, that’s often a different matter, maybe we assume or at the very least hope that our bodies will just look after themselves?
So as the days got nearer to my appointment at the hospital, I inevitably began to grow a little anxious. Do I eat five-a-day… “No!” Do I check my breasts regularly.. “No!” Do I drink enough water... Definitely a “No!”
So it was with some trepidation I filled in my questionnaire, and off I set to The Park Hospital. For any of you who haven’t been fortunate enough to go to a private hospital let me tell you it is a far cry from the NHS version, it’s not crowded with screaming children, long suffering elderly patients and exhausted looking nurses and doctors stretched to their limits. You sit on comfortable chairs with a nice “free” drink machine offering a selection of hot and cold drinks. It feels spacious, spotlessly clean, even tranquil dare I say it. Even the staff look happy! I have a huge respect and indeed gratitude for the NHS, but undeniably the difference in experience of walking into this hospital was night-and-day.
The check up I had does not come cheap at £754. There are a lot of different packages starting at £189 and up to £950 according to what you would like and indeed can afford. But compared to what I’ve shelled out on my cars over the years, this is not a lot at all for my health. What do we have without our health after all? Not much.
The nurse I saw first was lovely and made me feel very at ease. The assessment started off well, we found a pulse, result!! I handed in my urine and stool sample then I was measured, weighed and had my bloods taken. I had an ECG, then a lung function test, and we went through my questionnaire. My main problem was my fruit and veg intake. I skip breakfast (just coffee) and sometimes skip lunch or just have a sandwich which means I have to cram in all my five-a-day in the evening. Which I need to address.
I was then seen by Dr Emma Pooley, who was absolutely lovely. We went through my questionnaire and my results for my ECG, lung function, blood pressure (which was a bit high), she also checked my ears and eyes, the back of my throat, and glands around my neck. There is a more intimate examination to be endured on a bed screened by a curtain. My breasts are examined for possible lumps and she talks to me about how to examine myself and gives me a leaflet. This is very important habit, a few of my friends and clients unfortunately have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the past few years. Dr Emma also looked at my spine, my back for any cancerous moles, reflexes and an anal examination which was a surprise. It’s definitely better to know about any potential problem now, rather than seeing a doctor later when unfortunately it can be too late.
Many people can get a free health test on the NHS between the age of 40- 75. But it certainly isn’t as thorough and in my personal experience doctors nowadays are prone to only deciding on the ‘antibiotics or no antibiotics’ question, and not much else. (there are of course some that can and do take the time to be thorough, but again in my experience that does tend to be a lottery).
So there are other options out there which include contacting one of the BMI private hospitals. You don’t need private medical insurance for any health assessments, you can also see a doctor privately at any of their clinics at the BMI.
£130 - for a 30 minute private GP appointment.
When talking to the doctor during my assessment she also advised me to have a mammogram. Unfortunately over the last few years I’ve had a fair few clients, and two friends, who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, so it was with this in mind I decided I’d be mad not to go ahead and have one. This I think for £198 is worth every penny, if you are worried about any lumps, any pain, or nipple change, then with this option you can go and get it checked out straight away. Obviously within the NHS the mandatory age to begin breast screening is fifty with three year intervals thereafter, so if you are younger or are 50+ and for whatever reason need reassurance in between those intervals this could be a good route. It negates the need for waiting, and there are also breast clinics available which offer examinations and consultation further to the mammogram, although I believe these are an extra cost.
So picture the scene if you will. I’m in the cubicle with the Star Wars contraption, hospital gown on, arse out. Low and behold the usual thing happens to me when in these sorts of situations: I become entirely left / right dyslexic. Options are the worst, “turn left”, “look right”, and you can guess what else I got mixed up. My boobs are small, but I have to say it didn’t hurt at all despite my (slight) concern, and regardless of them being flattened to a pancake in the futuristic looking machine! The lady that took me was amazing, calmly talking me through it at every step and was so gentle which made a huge difference.
The results, thank the lord, came back fine. I couldn’t feel anything but still I couldn’t help but worry about the potential for something to be found. Whilst I mention it here is a website describing exactly how to check your breasts correctly https://coppafeel.org/your-boobs/ just in case you’re not 100% sure. The BMI do have weekly breast clinics you can go to just to talk to someone if you are at all concerned.
So what do I think, is a health assessment worth having? I would say yes. I could have decided “I’m fine, I don’t need it”. But what if I hadn’t have been, what if it had shown something. I’m aware that survival rates for people who find themselves faced with dire circumstances are often largely determined by how early the intervention is, so between that and peace of mind I am very glad to have had my health assessment. I do need to eat more fruit and veg and watch my cholesterol, which had crept up a bit. My dad died of a heart attack at 55 so these are things I really should look after. You can’t put a price on your health, and it’s something we can too easily take for granted or not give enough priority in the busy hustle and bustle of life.
The BMI team are at the Nottinghamshire Showground this weekend at Newark – Saturday and Sunday, offering free mini health checks to everyone at the event and the chance to win a Health Assessment at The Park Hospital if you come and see them at there stand B9B. Don’t forget the code SILVERKAT10 for 10% off on Health Assessment up until December.
Do we all need an MOT at times? Yep. X