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Waiting for GP referrals? Direct Access services could help…

Vicki Leslie of ECIS looks at the ‘Direct Access’ service available via the ECIS Private Medical Insurance (PMI) scheme and how it helped her on the road to Peru…

For years I had wanted to hike the Inca Trail, see the sun rise over Macchu Picchu and head down into the depths of the Amazon - the river that is, not the retail giant. Then a few years ago I was going to get my wish, it was all booked and I was heading off to Peru. Six weeks before I was due to leave, I walked out of the gym, stepped up on a curb and, BAM, went over on my ankle. I tore ligaments and chipped off some bone. So what did that mean for my trip? How long was I going to have to wait until I could have treatment for my injury? And what about work if I couldn’t drive? I didn’t need to worry thanks to the Direct Access Service I was able to use through my Bupa private medical insurance. I didn’t need to see my GP first, I was able to speak directly to Bupa..

I phoned the claims line the day after it happened and booked in for a triage session at lunchtime. I was called back at the time agreed and had a short assessment over the phone. The advisor referred me for 6 sessions of physiotherapy, the first of which happened the very next day, which was within 36 hours of my injury occurring. I didn’t miss a day of work, was able to drive in a couple of days and 6 weeks later, I was hiking in the hills of Peru.

Getting help, treatment and support as early as possible is absolutely key with any medical condition, from an injury to something more serious like cancer. The earlier you get help, the better the prognosis and outcome. I didn’t really understand why people wouldn’t seek help as soon as they were worried about something, so I asked and the thing I heard most was ‘I don’t want to waste anyone’s time’. Trust me – you’re not. Medical professionals are likely to tell you they would rather spend some time and give you the news that everything is ok, rather than you wait and then the news they might have to deliver is bad.

The Direct Access Services offers support on symptoms of cancer, your mental health, muscle, bone or joint conditions and cataracts. This means you can call and speak to a specialist team who can refer you on if necessary thereby ensuring you have any checks as quickly as possible. And if you don’t need onward referral, you have the peace of mind that things are ok. Once you have that peace of mind, you can start thinking about other important things. Like ‘where shall I go on my next adventure..?’

*Direct access telephone services are available as long as the symptoms are covered under the policy. Direct access may not always be available for some underwriting methods.

EC Insurance Services Limited (ECIS) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The company is entered on the Financial Services Register (www.fca.org.uk/register/) under reference no. 312803


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