Jeff Prestridge  

Financial protection cover has stood up to the tough test of coronavirus

Jeff Prestridge

Jeff Prestridge

Let's be honest, it has been a grim old winter.

Little to cheer us up apart from the successful rollout of coronavirus vaccines and some cracking drama on television (wasn’t ITV crime thriller Unforgotten damned good?).

For the record, I had my first vaccination a few weeks ago at the Madejski Stadium, home of Reading Football Club.

Also, for the record, it is the best experience I have ever had at this ground since it was built more than 20 years ago.

Over the years, I have either watched in pain as my beloved West Bromwich Albion FC has succumbed to yet another defeat at the hands of The Royals, or I have neared collapse in the stadium at the end of yet another gruelling Reading half marathon.

In comparison, the jab was a joy, although it did leave my left arm feeling rather dead for a few days afterwards.

Alas, enough of the cold, the grim and the jab. Spring is now in full swing, and with the clocks thrown forward it feels as if the country is on the cusp of an exciting reawakening.

Workers are emerging from the cocoons of their homes, marvelling at the magnolia blossom and beginning to return to their places of employment.

Trains are running half rather than near-empty. And it will not be long before all shops reopen and we are allowed to waddle off for a ludicrously expensive staycation in the Lakes or somewhere on the coast.

I am hoping to take a week off once Easter is out of the way and spend a day or so in Brighton swimming in the sea, however cold it is. Escape from lockdown.

Hopefully a return to near normality, aided in no small part by the government’s effective vaccination programme, will be long-lasting this time around.

It is imperative the economy moves into recovery mode as soon as possible.

It is also essential that the splendid NHS is allowed to refocus its resources on dealing with those health matters that understandably have taken a back stage over the past year. Detecting cancer early is a case in point.

According to Cancer Research UK, some 3m people have missed out on cancer screening as a result of coronavirus – including nearly a million women who have not been tested for breast cancer as they would have been in more normal times.

The charity believes some 8,600 women are now living with undetected breast cancer as a result. All rather worrying.

The latest financial protection insurance claims data from some of the country’s biggest providers confirms what Cancer Research UK has said. Fewer people being screened for cancer is resulting in a reduction in diagnoses – and a resulting fall off in claims.