Miss Hunter from Kent

"It's very reassuring to know you have private medical cover in place. You never know what's round the corner when it comes to your health". 

A retired NHS hospital theatre sister and keen golfer, Miss Rhona Hunter was a very active 71-year-old. However, in July 2016, she started to experience intermittent groin pain and over the next few months, the pain increased in such severity to curtail normal day-to-day and leisure activities. Her Saga Health Insurance policy helped her to access treatment quickly and get back to enjoying her normal activities as soon as possible.

Miss Hunter has had private medical insurance for most of her adult life. When her previous provider became “very expensive”, she switched to Saga and saved money. In the nine years since Miss Hunter became a Saga Health Insurance customer, she had enjoyed excellent health and never had to make a claim, until this last year.  “The hip took me by surprise,” said Miss Hunter.

Having worked in the NHS for forty years, Miss Hunter believes private healthcare “takes some of the burden away from the NHS”. She also says, “I’ve witnessed some things in the NHS that I wouldn’t want to experience myself”. Terrible pain brought on by a game of tennis was the last straw. Miss Hunter had been experiencing worsening pain for a while so she visited her GP who sent her for an MRI to diagnose the cause. Having waited a couple of weeks for the scan through the NHS, it then took five weeks for the results to come through.

Miss Hunter learnt that she’d been walking on a fractured hip, caused by a lack of blood flow to the hip bone.

Not wanting to wait any longer, Miss Hunter asked her GP for a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon of her choice, called us for authorisation and saw a consultant surgeon just two days later at her local private hospital.

“I couldn’t fault the service from Saga...” said Miss Hunter. “it has been excellent, absolutely brilliant. When it all first happened, I was very apprehensive but I can’t fault the support I had from the other person at the end of the phone."

“They were very patient because I probably asked some stupid questions. When you’re in that alarming situation there’s a high level of anxiety and fear, you don’t always get things straight. The claims team were caring, and they really took the worry away at what is a difficult time.”

Within three weeks, she’d had a total hip replacement and was recuperating in her private room. Four days later she was discharged from hospital. “I was so glad I had private insurance,”

For Miss Hunter, one of the most important benefits of private health insurance, alongside speed, is choice, “I had the opportunity to choose who I wanted to go to.” A consultant orthopaedic surgeon was recommended to her for her hip replacement and through her Saga HealthPlan, Miss Hunter was able to have complete control and arrange to have her surgery with her preferred consultant, at a time that was convenient for her.

Receiving treatment in the private hospital meant she had good food, nurses who had time to spend with her, and the privacy and dignity of her own private room. This was particularly important to Miss Hunter as she’s used to living on her own and didn’t want to share a room, “I wanted privacy too; not being in a ward with snoring people. Being able to rest at a time when you’re in pain makes recuperating so much easier.”

After her discharge from hospital, Miss Hunter received treatment from a local physiotherapist. She wasn’t allowed to drive until six weeks after her operation so being able to choose a convenient practitioner meant that she didn’t have to rely on friends to drive her to the next town. Instead they could simply drop her into the village.

Her HealthPlan covered all her physiotherapy sessions, “When the adviser told me I could have up to 20 sessions, I was quite surprised,” said Miss Hunter. “I had to call back and check.” And when her physiotherapist recommended hydrotherapy, Miss Hunter was covered for this too.

Unfortunately, whilst recovering from hip surgery, Miss Hunter injured the rotator cuff in her shoulder. Her GP told her that the waiting time for an MRI scan was four weeks, so Miss Hunter said “Don’t worry, I’ll call Saga” and four days later, it was done.

Eight months after Miss Hunter’s surgery; she was able to walk Jake for an hour twice a day and was back on the golf course. “I’m not fit enough to play more than nine holes at the moment, and I have to use a buggy because my golf course is very hilly and slow play is frowned upon, but I’m enjoying being able to play again.”

“I’m not in any pain due to my hip but my leg does get tired and feels a bit weak and wobbly. My consultant advised that it would probably be a year before I start to feel back to normal. The physio and hydrotherapy has helped me enormously, I really recommend it. I’m also going to Pilates to try and get my muscles going again.

“I’m dying to get back to playing golf properly but I’ve got to be patient. It’s not until you’re suddenly in the position that you have to use your health insurance that you worry about whether or not you’re covered. It’s very reassuring when you do have cover in place.”

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Saga health insurance customer walking a dog