When Equipsme member Eleanor* took her family travelling in the US, she was expecting a summer of fun. What she wasn’t expecting was for a serious case of the sniffles to knock her seven year old for six.
Eleanor explains: “We were travelling in the US and due to visit family and various attractions, when my daughter, Evie, started to feel really unwell. She was incredibly bunged up and coughing at night, which was keeping all of us awake and making the jet lag even worse.
“Back at home it would have been simple to go to the pharmacy or talk to the GP. But in a country with a notoriously expensive health care system and propensity to over-medicate we didn't really know where to begin.”
After a miserable few days, the family decided to try a local pharmacy.
“The person behind the counter suspected allergies and sold us a nasal spray,” Eleanor continues. “I don't know if pharmacists have the same qualifications as in the UK but whatever was recommended seemed to make everything worse. Poor Evie felt nauseous on top of everything else, and we had to cut short a day out with friends we hadn't seen for years.
“We thought about going to a walk-in medical centre, but the cost was hundreds of dollars and it's hard to know where is good or bad to go. Travel insurance is always there for a broken leg or seriously falling ill - but what do you do with a moderately unwell child on holiday?”
That’s when Eleanor remembered the 24/7 GP that came as part of her Equipsme health plan.
“I knew you could access the Equipsme GP service from anywhere in the world, so I called to make an appointment. I spoke to a doctor in the UK within an hour. It was 3am back in the UK when we spoke – which is a pretty amazing service! And it was SO reassuring.
“The doctor said the spray we'd been sold wouldn't be recommended in the UK, which gave me the confidence to ditch it right away. It was great to be able to talk through my Evie's symptoms in detail without feeling rushed, or dismissed. After a bit of a chat, she provided the generic name of a different medicine, so we could go back out to a pharmacy the next day armed with a bit more knowledge and ask for something specific.
“As soon as Evie started on it, we saw the difference. She picked up almost immediately, and we were able to carry on with our holiday – and she was actually able to enjoy it.
“My advice to anyone lucky enough to have an Equipsme plan through work is to put the GP appointment number into your phone this summer. Kids can get sick anywhere and speaking to someone back at home can be a real lifeline. It was an SOS call that certainly saved our summer.”
*Names have been changed to protect identities.