A Personal Tribute To The NHS

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The NHS is headline news again tonight with regards to its struggle to meet targets for waiting times and fears for the safety of patients.  Before we let the scaremongering take over maybe it’s time to ask a few questions.

Many of you will know that my father was seriously ill recently so I will use the bare bones of his case as an example.

The doctor was called late morning for my father as he had some extremely worrying symptoms.  By 2pm the doctor had visited the house and advised that my father should go to Ninewells.  An ambulance was offered but we knew it would be quicker if I took him so that’s what we did.

On arrival at the ward in Ninewells my father had the basic tests for blood pressure, heart rate etc. which was noted and taken to those in charge of admissions.  There was a notice on the wall of the waiting area advising that people would be admitted in order of need, not by length of wait. I thought this rather peculiar until we had been there a short while and I heard some of those waiting commenting that their doctor hadn’t sent them, they just thought they should be admitted.

Within 15 minutes my father was admitted to the reception ward.  Within the hour, he had been seen by the necessary consultants and a plan was in place.  Within 2 hours of arrival my father was in the required ward for his treatment and treatment had begun.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of what happened but it is enough to ask the question, where else would he have been able to get that treatment at that speed without us having to ensure we could pay for it?

The NHS was founded in 1948, in 1951 the average life expectancy for males was 66yrs for females it was 71yrs.  In 2011 the average life expectancy had risen to 79yrs and 82yrs respectively.  That means the NHS which is funded in basically the same way it always has been is now looking after people for approximately 10yrs more than was ever envisaged.

We all know the way the American health system works and the people dying as they save up for treatment as a result.

The NHS is a system like no other and we should not be ripping it to shreds on a daily basis.  It is not perfect but what is?  It’s time we started supporting our health workers and our health care system rather than maligning something that we couldn’t afford if the NHS was privatised.

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