Former Addenbrookes NHS Chief Nurse benefits from first experience of private healthcare

Retired NHS nurse, Margaret Berry OBE, describes herself as ‘fit as a flea’ and playing the best golf of her life.

But that hasn’t always been the case. For five years, Margaret suffered excruciating back pain that affected almost everything she did. She’d gone from someone who enjoyed sport, especially golf, to being unable to bend down, or go to the shops.

Endless GP appointments, hospital scans and physiotherapy referrals pointed to arthritic degenerative changes at the base of her spine.

Faced with the prospect of having to accept that she had a degenerative condition, Margaret decided to fight back. She requested a second opinion and was referred to leading Consultant Neurosurgeon, Mr Rod Laing. And that’s when everything changed.

Life-changing moment

Margaret recalls: “He took one look at my MRI scan and immediately said ‘I can make you better’. I simply couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It’s just one small sentence, but this was a life-changing moment for me.”

Mr Laing diagnosed spinal stenosis, a narrowing of spaces within the spine, which puts pressure on the nerves running through the spinal canal.

Too elated to worry about how this condition had been missed so many times before, Margaret needed to focus on her treatment. Her long association with Addenbrooke’s Hospital made it an obvious choice, but the vast waiting lists exacerbated by the pandemic meant this wasn’t a suitable option. So, for the first time in her life, Margaret looked at the private healthcare sector.

Self-pay is an easy process

“The Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital is Mr Laing’s hospital of choice, so I took his trusted advice and found that the cost was much lower than I’d expected, and self-pay is an easy process,” she says.

Feeling positively motivated about life again, Margaret had her operation on a Friday morning, and was back home by Saturday afternoon.

“My experience at the Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital, was my first-ever exposure to private healthcare and I’ve been overwhelmed by the exemplary level of care, kindness, and capability from every single member of staff.

“I know what good and bad care looks like,” she says. “I watched the team carrying out their clinical duties with an eagle eye, and everything I saw was excellence at all levels.”

She continued: “As a very private person, I was astounded at the absolute consideration shown to me each step of the way. They talked to me about everything, protected my dignity, calmed my fears, and performed surgery that has changed my quality of life. I have nothing but praise to offer in return for the outstanding care I received from Nuffield Health.”

To read more:
Cambridge Independent

Last updated Thursday 21 July 2022

First published on Tuesday 19 July 2022