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Thursday, 1 March 2012

Time to speak out and set the record straight.

The future of the NHS is very obviously the hot button topic right now in the UK.
On the one hand we have the coalition government doing it's utmost to privatize it (let's just call a spade a spade here), and on the other we have a minority trying to raise the alarm, while the majority sleep walk into a future where the effects of a private health care system will no doubt be met with an incredulous 'how the fuck did that happen'.
There is however a different angle to all this, and that is how our NHS is perceived abroad.
I've seen a whole raft of misguided comments about it.
How can you expect a quality service for free is one, but who said it was free? We all pay for it and we all reap the rewards.
People die while waiting for treatment was another.
Well of course they do. Show me a country where no one dies while waiting for treatment and we can all move there.
Physical ailments do not respect time.
People die everyday. It's part of the circle of life.
Of course timely intervention can help, but it's all very haphazard. I could equally say that people die after treatment to.
We file it away as shit happens and move on.
Not everyone will be saved, nor will they have a positive experience of the care they receive.
It's not a perfect system.
Life is not a perfect system. Deal with it.
Add onto those two the claims that of filthy hospitals where it would appear that we have to climb over mountains of soiled bedding and avoid dirty needles while fending off leprous nurses and I'm starting to wonder where people get this sort of impression from.
There are many more of these examples to.
So many that on occasions I've thought that maybe in some insidiously manipulative way that we have been slowly getting primed for this.
For at least a decade the idea of, private health care system good, socialist health care system bad, has been promoted relentlessly.
The only problem is that I don't see it.
While accepting that the NHS is not a utopian dream come true I consider that it's not far off it.
I actually think our nurses are, in the main, angels who work long and hard for a pay that doesn't really reflect their worth.
The doctors, from GPs to surgeons, provide us all with a breadth of expertise that boggles the mind.
Together all our health care professionals are the mechanics of our country who keep the engine running.
I firmly believe this.
I always have done, and whenever I have required treatment they have proved me right time after time.
Just a little over a week ago I was at work and felt a pain in my chest.
It was like a clamp squeezing the breath out of me, a huge weight that was settling on my chest.
The pain radiated down my right arm and my fingertips felt as if there was a small electrical charge running through them.
Once the pain reseeded I came out in a feverish sweat and thought I was going to throw up.
Basically I had displayed all the symptoms of a heart attack, except it was my right arm instead of the left.
So I left work and went to my doctors surgery.
Within a very short space of time I was seen by a doctor who diagnosed a chest infection and a possible pulled muscle in my chest.
Both together mirroring virtually all the symptoms of a heart attack.
Throughout my examination the doctor was calmly supportive and at no point did I feel that he was being inconvenienced by my emergency appointment.
From my limited experience – as I very rarely avail myself of the NHS – I didn't expect anything less.
All in, from the initial pain to a diagnosis, and including the offer of treatment and the uplifting of the medication itself, it took about two hours.
I can't see anything to complain about there.
Then this morning I found that I needed to contact my surgery again for another matter entirely.
I called at 8.30am and was told that a doctor would call me back within the hour.
It was actually about twenty minutes later when the phone rung out and within minutes a course of treatment was advised.
Once again I felt that this doctor - a different one from over a week ago – delivered a service second to none.
Compassionate, empathic and on the ball.
So I want everyone to do me a favour.
Can you all speak up on behalf of our NHS.
Lets not focus on the one or two issues that we have had, and there are issues and sometimes very upsetting ones, but instead let's focus on the lifetime of treatment we have had and how over all it is simply fantastic.
I don't want us all to start appreciating something once it is gone.
Speak up now and let's keep our NHS as the benchmark that everyone else across the world needs to reach for.

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