Is NHS cancer care free in the UK?

cervical cancer cell

Notwithstanding many of the current problems facing the NHS in the fall-out from Covid19, Brexit and the cost of living crisis, most people would agree that UK urgent care services are still pretty good. So whether you have a road accident, a heart attack or cancer, the service can still be amongst the best and delivered in a timely fashion – or at any rate better than through private health services.

That certainly was the case but with a third of patients with serious heart conditions now waiting over 4 months for treatment and with close to a majority of cancer patients now expecting to wait over 2 months for any treatment to begin, it’s all very worrying.

In many cases, there is simply no alternative option but to wait for the NHS as private care providers won’t touch this hard-to-deliver and hence unprofitable services. But there are some alternatives worth considering in the UK, albeit these are not so well known as we are so used as a nation to getting any and every health care need provided for free on the NHS.

Skin Cancer is one area where an alternative treatment such as Curaderm can provide an interesting opportunity that’s worth the relatively low cost – and as you’ll see it may in fact work out cheaper than waiting for the NHS anyway.

Curaderm is safe to use externally for a range of conditions variously described as:

  • Non-Melanomas Skin Cancer
  • BCC (Basal Cell Carcinoma)
  • Actinic Keratosis

We would never suggest its use instead of relying on the advice of your medical practitioner or hospital but where Curaderm comes into its own is that it can be tried as a treatment whilst waiting on an NHS waiting list, and if it works within, say, the first two months, you might just avoid the need for higher risk physical surgery and maybe even reconstructive plastic surgery too.

But what about the cost issue? Why pay when it can be free?

Well, the author recently experienced a health crisis with his father-in-law. Said relative was diagnosed with a skin complaint and referred for surgery, sadly at the time he refused to reveal the potentially worrying diagnosis, so we had no idea he could have trialled Curaderm.

Accordingly, after a long wait of several worrying weeks, we transported him to the doctors and hospital for various preliminary appointments and then into the hospital for his operation – which was completed on the day. Then the fun started – nobody had realised or told us that they’d also undertaken the skin transplant that day too from elsewhere on his body – so when he exited the hospital he was, basically unable to look after himself. Not only did he need to avoid damaging where the skin cancer had been cut away, but he also had to avoid flexing his arm, where the skin graft was taken from, and all these areas needed protection from water for around a month.

The only option was to source and employ a daily carer who could pop in and provide help with washing, cooking and dressing. They came twice a day for 5 weeks and even though a deal was struck on the price, they still charged £20 an hour as they also had to earn enough to cover travelling costs. This added up to a cost of around £1,400.

So ignoring all the out-of-pocket expenses of hospital visits, help with shopping etc, and the disadvantage for my father-in-law of not being able to fend for himself for over a month nor could he drive (yet still had to shell out for road tax, insurance etc) it all added up to his free NHS cancer care costing around TEN times the cost of trialling Curaderm.

Obviously not every user of Curaderm is cured and it’s not right for all cases (but it is considered safe when used externally), but for those where it does work out they also save from the potential risk of surgery, and in the case of my father-in-law, despite his surgery being a success, he has since been left with scars both where the surgery was needed and where the skin was grafted from on his upper arm.

So Free NHS Cancer Care? Yes, but beware of some of the potential hidden costs and maybe consider the unthinkable, paying for care in the UK whilst you wait for NHS treatment. It may just save you the hassle, time and even money. Who’d have thought it?