Nearly a fifth of all working days lost due to sickness in the UK each year are down to musculoskeletal problems. It’s the second-biggest cause of workplace absences.
Clearly, such conditions are incredibly common. Most of us are therefore likely to have either suffered from the dreaded dodgy back and needed time off work or are likely to develop a similar problem in the future.
I’m no exception. A few years ago now, I went to the gym one morning for my usual workout. I’d barely got started before my back just went and I ended up in terrible pain.
As you do in this situation, I went to my NHS GP for advice. However, it was here things started to become unstuck.
My GP was as helpful as they could be given my symptoms and without any diagnostic scans. They thought I either had a bulging, herniated or slipped disc in my back.
While they said they could put me on a waiting list to have an MRI scan, this was a step towards surgical intervention and they’d rather try to manage it with physiotherapy first.
So, still in pain, I left the surgery to wait for my physiotherapy appointment… and kept waiting!
It was 3 months before the physio made contact to offer me an appointment. Even then, I was shocked to find the appointment they offered me was for 6 months in the future.
Despite calling them and explaining my condition, they still couldn’t see me any sooner.
I was one of the lucky ones, however — I had Group Health Insurance through work. This gave me access to private medical care, with Bupa picking up the bill.
So, after I got the letter telling me when my first NHS physio appointment would be — in 6 months time — I decided to claim on the Company Health Insurance scheme.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. I got all of the information I needed from the HR portal the company put together for its workers detailing how to claim. Then, one evening after work about 6.30pm, I called them up to start the process.
After a brief discussion of my symptoms, the trained claims management team diagnosed me there and then over the phone. They then immediately authorised a course of physiotherapy. I could have started my first session at 8pm that same evening if I’d wanted!
Having been in pain for so long already, however, I was happy to wait until 9am the following morning.
So the next day I turned up at the physiotherapist’s location at my allotted time. I then paid the policy excess of £100 and went in for a full assessment with the physio.
After a bit of time spent learning about me and the problem at hand, the physiotherapist examined me and gave me some exercises to do to help with my back pain. He then arranged for me to have at least nine more followup sessions.
It was all so simple and easy and, most importantly, really fast. There was no waiting around and I was on my way to a course of at least ten physio sessions all for just my excess of £100.
All in all, it was a much-needed relief for me to be able to start making positive steps towards recovery and I’m so grateful Bupa was there when I needed them.
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