The National Health Service is part of what makes the UK what it is, and while it has its fair share of flaws, it has without a doubt been a much needed institution for the past 70 years. Here’s to wishing the NHS a Happy Birthday (albeit a slightly belated one) for July 5th 2018!
I’m sure many of us in the UK will have our opinions on the NHS. I’ve had a lot of negative experiences, and although that’s coloured my view considerably, I can still appreciate the amazing benefit it offers. While it may seem that good doctors, specialists and nurses are hard to come by sometimes, they are there. The NHS has a lot of compassionate, skilled members of staff, and the ability to get medications and supplies via the NHS is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted either. As as ostomate, I’m forever grateful for the options I have in the UK with the stoma supplies I need.
Sadly, there’s a lot of ugly, too. There are a instances where tests and medications aren’t available, where appointments and procedures are delayed or cancelled, where waiting lists are extreme, where patients (myself included) have had long term consequences from being fobbed off by doctors who don’t listen, where patients and their families have had to turn to crowdfunding and private treatment, where nurses are rude and mistakes seem as though they’ve been allowed to happen. It’s par for the course – there’s the good, the bad and the ugly with the NHS, and I think the birthday celebrations help us to consider all of the good for a change.
I think part of the issue with how the NHS is often negatively viewed comes from our awareness of some of the things that seem illogical and wasteful, and the resulting cynicism from this awareness – huge salaries and bonuses to the top tier of pen pushers, raking in money from the ‘tax on sickness’ through hospital car parking but not knowing where said money goes, extortionate prices paid on paracetamol and other drugs, those who aren’t entitled to NHS care having it anyway and not paying back, poor planning, money not going where it would be most beneficial and being wasted instead on schemes that simply don’t work or aren’t needed. We know money could be better used and planning could more efficient in order to improve patient care, the experience for nurses and staff who work tirelessly, to bring in more nurses, to make more medications available, and so on.
We know that things could and should be better than they are given the excellent skillset of those working within the NHS and the money it receives. We know we’re lucky to have it and that the NHS is an amazing thing, but we’re disheartened and baffled by all of the negatives we read about in the news, the negative experiences friends/colleagues/family may have been through, the poor experiences we’ve had ourselves. We know it should be better than it is and we wonder why things aren’t changing for the better.
I find the notion of the 70th birthday rather bittersweet. It’s wonderful to know it’s survived this long and has made such a difference to many, many people. It’s heartbreaking to know how much it’s struggling and how many patients also suffer as a result.
I wanted to take a moment to appreciate the good and the not-so-good, and celebrate the wonderful things the NHS has provided and the amazing work that staff, specialists, surgeons, and other staff do, each and every day. I do hope the future is brighter for the NHS. We need you.
You can find out more information on the 70th birthday for the NHS on the official website.