5 reasons UK expats should get healthcare help from home

Moving abroad broadens your horizons. You try new food, learn a new language, and acclimatise to a country’s cultural quirks. But there are some things you don’t want to change – like feeling that your healthcare is in good hands.

5 reasons UK expats should get healthcare help from home
Photo: Pixabay

Navigating the health care system in another country can be tough, and even when it all works out, sometimes you just miss the comfort of the system back home.

Luckily, there are options that can help ease that uncertainty – no matter how far away from home you are.

“My Clinical Coach is a service which gives expats support and reassurance even if they are thousands of miles away from the UK,” says Wendy Norton, Director of Clinical and Customer Operations at the company.

“We help people who are worried about their own health, either with long-term medical conditions or undiagnosed symptoms, regain control of their lives. Our clinical health coaches have helped thousands of people make life-changing improvements to their lives through personalised treatment programmes.”

My Clinical Coach provides a more holistic approach to care, empowering and emotionally supporting patients to improve their own health and wellbeing.   

“That’s why doctors, patient organisations and, most importantly, the people we help, trust us,” says Norton.  “Whether they just feel a little unsure about what health issues they have or if they have a long-term condition, the clinical health coach is there when they need them.”

Health coaching is not a new concept.  The approach has seen success in America, Australia, Spain and Scandinavian nations for example – but specific, tailored nurse-led Clinical Health Coaching for patients with long term conditions has until now not been widely used in the UK or by British citizens living abroad. 

But the potential benefits are massive. Haven’t heard of it? Here are just a few reasons why you should consider signing up for My Clinical Coach today.

1. It’s in English

Doctor's offices are places full of jargon – and that can be extra tough in a foreign language. “It is really difficult to describe things like pain or odd anatomical occurrences when you only have a limited vocabulary in a foreign language,” says UK expat Tara.

“Similarly, if it was a question of managing something like diabetes with diet and exercise etc., it might be handy to have an English speaker explain it all and coach you through it so that you really understood what it was all about.”

My Clinical Coach gives you just that: a fellow native English speaker who can coach you through every step, whether it's managing a long-term condition or just helping you double check symptoms and medication in English.

2. It’s tailored

You never know what you might get abroad. Many health care facilities seem to offer one-size-fits all treatments, and you’ll frequently get a different doctor every time you visit.

With My Clinical Coach you always know who you’re talking to – and they know you.

 “Essentially it provides the patient with an expert friend,” Norton explains.

The nurses at My Clinical Coach won’t just ask you what’s the matter – they’ll ask what matters to you. It’s not just medical – it’s personal.

 “These expert friends are experienced nurses who can help with any condition, from diabetes to lung disease to heart disease and so forth,” Norton adds, “And they are in constant contact with their patients, supporting them, motivating them, helping with nutrition, and noticing behavioural changes. They can help with any worries patients may have around their own health, whether it’s getting a new diagnosis, a change in existing condition or being on new medication.”

3. Skip long waiting lines to see a doctor or a nurse

Sometimes seeing the doctor comes down to a matter of time.

“I recall that there was a really long waiting list when I wanted to see a county dermatologist, and it was really hard to get a private consultation without having insurance,” says James, a UK expat living in Sweden.

“It was really hard to find anyone who would see you. I ended up getting a video consultation with a British consultant instead.”

While My Clinical Coach doesn’t work specifically with dermatology, the same principle rings true if you’re waiting to see a doctor or nurse – you can skip the lines and get the help you need quickly.

4. They do what some healthcare systems can’t

My Clinical Coach is a private healthcare service delivered by highly trained and experienced nurses.

“We provide ongoing support from a specialist nurse who can really get to know you. My Clinical Coach was born out of the idea that the NHS provides good service, but that there’s a gap in the market,” Norton explains.

“When someone has a long-term condition. they don’t always get all the support and information they need, and they have to go out looking for it. Or perhaps they are unable to develop a strong relationship with their nurse.”

This means that patients might not have the opportunities to ask all their questions, little questions that may make a big difference to their life.

“At My Clinical Coach, we provide you with your own personal expert nurse who will help understand your own health, resulting in better control and management of your long-term condition,” Norton says. “Your expert nurse may even solve problems you did not realise you had, or that you didn’t know could be solved.”

5.  Don’t worry about residency issues

There’s no place quite like home – especially when you need medical help.

Living abroad with a serious health condition can be frightening and can add major stress to your life.

“Getting to grips with the local system and understanding what’s best for your own health and wellbeing can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be like that,” Norton says.

Plus, recently the NHS has been clamping down on rules saying that the moment a British citizen has moved out of the UK, they lose their right to NHS treatment. New rules say that you must be 'ordinarily resident' in the country to use NHS services.

But with My Clinical Coach it doesn’t matter what your residency is. No matter how long you’ve been abroad, you can get the health coaching you want straight from the UK.

“We have a patient in France, for instance, who was worried about a pre-diagnosis and wanted some reassurance and support. He couldn’t come back to the UK and get that kind of support anymore, so he turned to My Clinical Coach,” Norton says. “We’re there for you no matter where you are.”

Considering My Clinical Coach? Find out more here.

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by My Clinical Coach. 




‘Possible link’ between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, EMA concludes

The European Medicines Agency has come to the conclusion that the unusual blood clots suffered by numerous people around Europe should be considered as rare side effects of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine, but that overall the benefits of the jab outweigh the risk.

'Possible link' between AstraZeneca vaccine and rare blood clots, EMA concludes
Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

A statement published online read: “The EMA’s safety committee has concluded today that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine.”

The EMA added however that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

While millions of doses of the vaccine developed with Oxford University have been administered, small numbers of people have developed deadly blood clots, which prompted countries including the European Union’s three largest nations – Germany, France and Italy – to temporarily suspend injections pending the EMA investigation.

In March the EMA said the vaccine was “safe and effective” in protecting people against Covid-19 but that it couldn’t rule out a link to blood clots, and that more investigations were needed.

On Wednesday the EMA said the AstraZeneca vaccine should continue to be used for all age groups but that people should be told of the possible rare side effects. The announcement came as the UK’s own drugs regulator said the AZ vaccine should now only be given to over 30s.

The EMA said it was “reminding healthcare professionals and people receiving the vaccine to remain aware of the possibility of very rare cases of blood clots combined with low levels of blood platelets occurring within two weeks of vaccination.”

One plausible explanation for the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is an immune response, the EMA said but that it had not identified any clear risk factors for causing the clots including age or gender.

So far, most of the cases reported have occurred in women under 60 years of age within two weeks of vaccination. 

The EMA advised that people who have received the vaccine should seek medical assistance immediately if they develop symptoms of this combination of blood clots and low blood platelets.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in legs, abdominal pain, severe headaches, blurred vision and tiny blood spots under the skin at the sight of the injection.

The EMA committee carried out an in-depth review of 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis reported in the EU drug safety database (EudraVigilance) as of 22 March 2021, 18 of which were fatal

The agency concluded: “COVID-19 is associated with a risk of hospitalisation and death. The reported combination of blood clots and low blood platelets is very rare, and the overall benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of side effects.”

Germany, France and Italy have all restarted AstraZeneca vaccines, but in the case of France and Germany with extra guidelines on the age of patients it should be used for. France is currently not administering the AstraZeneca vaccine to under 55s or over 75s.