In 2018 I was diagnosed with arthritis in my hip. I was referred to Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital by the DF Physiotherapist and spent two years on pain and inflammatory medication before I was eventually told I was being referred to an Orthopaedic Surgeon. However it would take another nine to twelve months before I would get an appointment and I would probably have to wait another two years before I could get the actual hip replacement surgery. This is the experience most people have with our public health system. My basic health insurance covered me for public hospitals but trying to get the surgery this route also proved difficult. Making enquires to the hospital to get a date for a surgery pre-assessment and surgery date was a nightmare as phones are not answered and when they are nobody can give you an answer and you are just fogged off .
I joined the PMAS medical scheme and after about seven months I had the procedure carried out in Knightsbridge hospital in Belfast. Damian Quigley oversees the running of the scheme and does an excellent job helping people on a one to one basis. Phone calls and emails I made to Knightsbridge hospital were dealt with in a timely and professional manner. The ward I stayed in had 6 private rooms and was fully staffed even on the night shift there were three nurses dedicated to the six rooms.
The only mistake I made was not joining PMAS sooner, that way I probably would have had the surgery within one or two months.
As enlisted personnel we should be entitled to the same medical treatment that commissioned staff receives. But until we do, I would encourage personnel to join the PMAS scheme, at €1 a week it’s a no-brainer.
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