What Price Healthcare? | AccountingWEB

What Price Healthcare?

Last weekend I had the joy of hosting some visitors from North America to our tiny island.   I say North America because one visitor was from USA and the other from the nearby socialist state of Canada.  On the Saturday night my American friend, let’s call him Barack, just for fun, decided to take the stairs instead of the elevator down to reception.  Now I have a very firm belief that exercise is not good for people, and true to form on the way down the steps Barack turned his ankle.

At first he couldn’t walk but after a short while he felt better and decided that he would be ok to walk to the restaurant in town.  Not far, about half a mile.  He clearly was in pain, but maybe he would walk the injury off.  The rest of the evening went ok, as most of it was sat down, and he was able to walk back to the hotel.

The next time I saw Barack was at breakfast.   He looked dreadful.  He was pale; he had no appetite and reported that he had cried out in the night from the pain in his ankle.   Knowing that this was the beginning of his trip to the UK, and that he was planning to visit a trade show in London, I suggested that we should go to the accident and emergency unit at the local hospital.  At this point he turned from grey to ashen, clearly thinking about the dollars spent at previous visits to hospital.

He protested that the pain was really ok, would he be able to cope.  The problem though wasn’t Barack, it was me. Having carried him from breakfast to the car I decided that that was enough and I would not be able to carry him for the rest of the week.

After a short drive we found the local hospital, thanks in part to Google maps.  He hobbled in and I went in as interpreter.  We may use the same words, but our version of English and an Americans version of English are totally different.  Two countries divided by a common language.   

Within a few minutes he had been “checked” in, assessed and was waiting for someone to inspect him in more detail.  Barack was shocked, by this point he would have spent $1,000 back home.    About 10 minutes later a senior nurse inspected his foot, I had to look away, and it was too much for me (btw email me for the correct version of this sentence).  She sent him for x-ray and with 45 minutes he was leaving, reassured that nothing was broken and with a copy of the image on a CD in case he needed it back in the USA.        

He was concerned that they would send him a bill, as this would have cost $2-3000 back home.  I reassured him.  Firstly the health system in the UK is free at the point of delivery, and secondly they didn’t write his address down correctly.    I asked him what he thought of the experience, and you will have to email for the correct version of his response.  You can imagine though he was very impressed.

The ankle repaired itself as the week went on and although he passed on running the London Marathon, he was able to achieve everything else he set out to do, confident that he was not damaging his foot even more .   

So what price healthcare?  Some say our health and our family are the only things that really matter.

This blog

By Steve Knowles - More than 25 years in business and practice in the UK means that there is very little that I haven't seen before.  But I also worked on your side of the pond and I have spent too many hours on planes and in airports.  But the years haven't dulled my way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and everyday is a new adventure.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".


William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.


Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.


Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.


Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.


The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.


FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.


Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.


Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.


AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.