Its Midnight in Kidderminster, the cold is not too biting, central heating has been on, I am downstairs with my partner fretting in bed upstairs – yes a little strange but having an Asthma attack I don’t want to keep him awake, though it is a case of ‘I know, he knows, that I know’ that he is not sleeping, but the pretense relaxes me a little. The wheezing is bad enough, and when it comes I can just about cope with that, it’s the shortness of breath that really gets me and starts a primordial panic stirring in my head. I could stay like this for some time, but it’s not going to get any better, it is just going to get worse; no matter what I do, no matter how I lay, no matter what position, it gets worse.
If you want to know what it is like to have an Asthama attack, then run half a mile and when you stop breathe through the tube of a Biro, that is a close approximation.
Being brought up by Grandmother I am loathed to engage the National Health Service ‘it is only for sick people, anyhow if you go into Hospital you never come out’ her words echoes over the decades, though not required as this mantra is ingrained in my head; in fact my Grandmother paid for the NHS by enduring the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s but I inherited it from the Attlee Government and see it as natural and as right as, well, I can’t think of anything that is less part of me. I see the justice that health care is a ‘right’, a part of the contract I have with the State, I give it money to build Nuclear Missiles, which I don’t want, and it gives the NHS, which I do want. More than a contract a National Health Service, free at the point of need, is a mark of a civilised society – I don’t want to guilty rich to decide who are the deserving poor that should be beneficed by a hospital, I don’t want at Doctor collecting his ‘dues’ and if you can’t pay, well …. Bevan, the father of the NHS wrote in his White Paper ‘In Place of Fear’ – and from my Grandmothers generation being ill was a real fear, a fear that is returning
“The collective principle asserts that … no society can legimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of a lack of means”
The telephone call is made, after the necessary questions the last question ‘do you want an Ambulance’ the fuss of sirens, the inconvenience of worrying that the Ambulance could be used for someone more ‘needy’ – the answer is ‘No’ the reply is ‘you aren’t able to complete sentences, I really think you should have an Ambulance’ – the logic is sound but I know the NHS has more worrying things do than send an Ambulance for an asthmatic – well that is the what the little voice in my head keeps telling me, takings its cues from Grandma – buts that’s the point, they haven’t, its someone in need; eventually the ParaMedics are sent.
A brief chat, a large form – A3 – standard tests are done and the Nebuliser administered, I hear my Grandmother tut-tutting in my head ‘you weren’t really ill, they didn’t take you to Hospital’ … but the offer was there and declined, not once asked for my ‘Payment Book’ or records – I was ill FULL STOP.
Fast forward six hours I am walking to the Railway Station in Kidderminster, dropped off by a rather tired ‘+1’ – when I say walking I have to stress attempting to walk, I am gasping for air again, lurching from one prop to another, I might pay a visit to the A&E after all, a few steps more and I am unable to breathe, or that it is what it feels like, a fish drowning in Oxygen. Being a fraud again I ask for an Ambulance again, not a good innings this visit is it? They arrive within minutes, a man having difiiculty in breathing does attract the attention; again the same process, the apologies, the gratitude, the same ‘we would rather treat you now than have to do all the paperwork for a DOA, anyhow we have a reputation to keep, none of our patients have croaked (no they did not say ‘croaked’ that is there for literally effect, but I am sure if I had asked them they would have).
Thank goodness we’ve always had, and will have, the NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE – but that is not true, in fact its a lie.
Before 1947 too many people were too poor to be ill, they simply died, or suffered in appalling conditions because of the effects of poverty, bad housing, and worse working conditions, but thanks to the landslide LabourVictory of 1947 (not so much a landslide as much as a political earthquake) things changed; the National Health Service was born in the face of almost total opposition by the Conservative Party and Doctors fearing loss of business, every Government since, including the Thatcher’s, had to maintain the NHS, and every Government had to accept a legal responsibility to provide Health Care until this Government that is.
The proposed changes to the NHS – by a Government that has no electoral Mandate, No majority, and promised NOT to make radical changes to the NHS – threaten to eat away at this fundamental pillar of my life, and make it a worse system. The British Medical Association condemn these changes and so do most people who care to listen to the news; not only will these changes remove the statutory of the Minister of Health care in England but will introduce competition, which will be wasteful as duplicated services will be provided, standards of health care reduced, and ultimately a winner that will become another conglomerate – rather like McDonald’s – which will skew competition so as to deny competition.
Not only are the Governments plans wrong, they are self-defeating by their own goals and objectives also – to be honest – I don’t want my health a matter of profit, because when you become ‘unprofitable’ to treat, what happens then?
Because of this Governments ideological thuggery and divisive polices I have to agree with Aneurin Bevan who in a debate said “Tories are lower than vermin” – the National Health Service should be enshrined not as a monument to Socialism but a monument to humanity, a monument to the Nation as something everybody benefits by and contributes to; this something everybody should be proud of, and something we protect, if we haven’t got the NHS, then what do we have?
The clock is ticking, this Government is destroying OUR National Health Service.
A couple of links below I would like you to look at:
Joyce Brand at the N30 Rally, speaking about life before the Welfare State – she’s not a brilliant speaker, wait she is ‘cos its from the heart
Interview with a Nurse who started before the NHS & has charted the changes over its life
A reminder from Germany how not to reform the NHS. costs have soared, drug bills increased & easy Operations increased.