As the ambulance crew knocked on the door, I was once again grateful for the past wisdom of the Labour government that was elected decisively at the end of World War 2, in particular for the ambitious project of the National Health Service.
While it has its problems, in part due to how it was established, it has given us immense freedom in the UK, freedom from the fear of crippling medical bills, the whims of profit-driven private health insurance companies and, until recently, the vagaries of ‘the Market’ in determining what care is available in your area of Britain.
The crew were quick and proficient and reassuring, as were the rest of the staff I saw, remarkably quickly, at Macclesfield Accident & Emergency. They listened with compassion to my pain – I had severe abdominal pains that could have indicated emergency treatment. After all the tests were done – I was amazed that throughout my pulse stayed about normal! – and I had endured the inevitably painful palpation, they eventually decided it was not appendicitis, more likely a viral gastroenteritis; this was somewhat reassuring, though I knew more days of unpleasant pain lay ahead.
Things are improving slowly but noticeably, I have more energy today, have done a few necessary things, am appreciating the enforced snail’s pace that I can manage comfortably. Perhaps I needed the slowdown anyway.
In the longer term, I am not forced to stay in a frustrating or pointless job merely to maintain my health cover, I will not be presented with a bill I cannot pay in January, I can be confident that, for all its faults and difficulties, there is a big team of dedicated people making the NHS work where it matters.
It was a time of looking to the future and some far-sighted investment, when they rebuilt the battered country after ‘the war’, since which time our governments’ policies have become increasingly myopic, viz: the recent cuts in funds for flood and water management programs and for renewable energy generation in favour of fossil fuels.
I wish you all a healthy, happy and enduringly prosperous 2016.