Getting the crowd on board

January 19, 2018
Taryn Lee-Johnston

It’s probably fair to say that in the UK, topics related to the NHS tend to make their fair share of news headlines, both positive and negative. The NHS can and does save lives, but at the same time, it is facing (more than) its fair share of pressures, both in terms of budget and in terms of possible staffing issues post Brexit. It is therefore, arguably, hardly surprising that sometimes the NHS is unable to deliver either the level of care or the speed of care patients and their families would prefer.

 

Crowdfunding is the new charity appeal

The basic concept of people needing medical care getting help from their community when the NHS was unable to meet their expectations is nothing particularly new. Prior to the advent of the internet and the digital age, people ran official or unofficial charity appeals to help raise funds either for their own treatment or for the treatment of someone they loved. The digital age has, however, helped to make this fact more visible since it is much easier to look at the entries on crowdfunding sites than to keep track of appeals, large and small, across the UK. The statistics are revealing. On the crowdfunding site JustGiving, a total of 2,348 medical-treatment-related campaigns were initiated during the course of 2016 – as compared to a mere 304 in 2015. That’s an increase of around 700%.

Cancer still kills – and it kills children

As a parent, when you think about your children’s health and wellbeing, the idea of them getting cancer may seem far-fetched but actually any child under the age of 15 has approximately a 1 in 500 chance of being diagnosed with cancer and even once they reach their young adult years (15-24) the danger is far from over with over 2000 young adults being diagnosed with cancer each year. In fact, it is the most common cause of death in children (aged up to 15), ahead of the likes of traffic accidents, even though the latter may be far more visible. While children in the UK are typically eligible for NHS treatment, the treatments available and the speed with which it can be delivered may fall rather short of what those on the receiving end would consider ideal. Even when the NHS can deliver what is required with the minimum possible delay, the consequences of a child becoming ill can really drive home the fact that children and specifically childcare can be very expensive. Even if one parent is already a home maker, the extra requirements of caring for a sick child can mean that they need additional help either from their partner or family or from professionals. Either of these options has the potential to have a severe impact on the family finances, which can put a strain on the strongest of relationships at what is already a difficult time.

Critical illness cover can protect both adults and children

When looking at insurance, it may be tempting to focus on the breadwinner(s) in the family to protect the income they generate in the event that they become unable to work. In reality, however, if one member of a family falls victim to a critical illness, then the impact is very likely to extend to the family as a whole and that impact may well have a (significant) financial element even though the child in question is too young to bring in any meaningful income. Because of this, it can be very advisable for parents to take out critical illness cover for both home makers in a family and for minor children (and to encourage young adults to take out their own policies) as well as for income earners.

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