Equipsme helps Holly get her heart heard

When busy marketing consultant and mum‑of‑two Holly Pedersen, 40, had a mini‑stroke, the NHS was there for her immediate care. But faced with a long wait to get to the right cardiologist, Holly was glad to be able to turn to Equipsme.

“I was brushing my daughter’s hair one morning in the bathroom, and suddenly I couldn’t speak,” explains Holly. “I looked in the mirror and I appeared vacant, unable to express any emotion or urgency, my body started to feel heavy like I might collapse. I managed to sit down.  It only lasted a few minutes, but it was pretty frightening. My 6 year old daughter kept saying she couldn’t understand me – ‘what are you saying Mummy?’ My husband phoned 999 and I soon found myself in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

“I couldn’t really believe it when they did all the tests told me I’d had a mini‑stroke. It was such a shock. I’m 40, and I’m fit and healthy ‑ I’d been swimming 10km a week and running round after a 4 and 6 year old!

“The NHS Young Stroke Team took brilliant care of me, and month or so later a heart ultrasound revealed a hole in my heart as the likely cause.

“The problem was I’d have to wait months to see any consultant to talk about what would happen next. That was just too long for me to sit and worry and put my life on hold. I didn’t even know what the road map looked like, what the possibilities and options were for treatment. There’s a very big difference between having to take the equivalent of aspirin for the rest of your life, and a heart procedure.”

Fortunately, Holly and her husband had taken out an Equipsme plan a few months earlier for their whole family. Holly had been made redundant from her job and decided to join her husband in their small consultancy Pedersen Plus.

“I’ve always worked for large organisations,” says Holly, “and I’ve always had private medical insurance as part of my benefits package. I’ve found it really useful in the past, and it’s not something I wanted to be without. If one of us became ill, I didn’t want to have to join the very pressured NHS, I wanted to be seen ASAP.

“My husband did all the research and found Equipsme. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we like to look at start‑ups and support them when we can. Becoming a member of Equipsme was an easy choice. We were impressed with the value for money, the quality of the healthcare, how practical the benefits are ‑ and the fact it could actually work for a small business like ours.

“I’m so pleased we made the choice to buy an Equipsme plan when we did. Going through Equipsme I was able to see a private cardiologist within a fortnight.

“My consultant thought I might need an operation, and again, going privately I’d be able to get that done in a matter of weeks, not months.

“It felt so much better to know where I was and what the plan was. The very hardest thing about having a diagnosis is the waiting game. Just having the road map laid out for me was such a relief.

“Equipsme was there exactly when I needed it. It got me to the right place at the right time, which is exactly what private medical insurance should be there to do. I’m proof that you just never know when you’re going to need it. You could be absolutely fighting fit, and then something comes out of left field and takes you completely by surprise. With private medical insurance in your corner, you can be prepared for anything. I’m so pleased we were.

“With my health taken care of I can concentrate on running my business and looking after my children.”