Thursday, 8 July 2021

The NHS: Britain's Greatest Asset


It seems almost banal to write that the National Health Service of the UK is a national treasure. But that's what it is. I have written as much before, several years ago. (See The NHS: The Best Present Britain Ever Gave Itself). 

Since then, the country has battled and continues to battle a once in century-- we hope -- pandemic. Its response to Covid-19 in all its variants has demonstrated the tremendous asset the NHS represents to the people of the four nations. 

Yes, there have been mistakes. Some mistakes are inevitable in such an unprecedented situation. In any case, the worst "mistakes" -- I'm being kind here -- have been those committed by high ranking government officials. What shines through this dark period is the everyday dedication and outright heroism of NHS staff at all levels.

I and my family have benefited personally from their work on numerous occasions. My wife has survived two life threatening conditions thanks to prompt and effective treatment. She continues to heap accolades on those who cared for her.

A few weeks ago I had a heart attack while playing tennis. A friend kindly drove me to the local hospital. I was taken in immediately, and given an ECG and other checks within minutes. 

Within half an hour I was in an ambulance on my way to another hospital not far away that has a top cardiac unit. The ambulance crew were on top of their job and good fun to boot. About 20 minutes after arrival I was wheeled into the operating room to receive a stent. It wasn't a fun hour, but the results were marvelous.

Three days later I was discharged, feeling fit as a fiddle, but told to "take it easy" for a while. No tennis for a few weeks at least. I also brought home a big bag of meds, which I'm told will help fend off a repeat performance. Cardiac rehab coming up.

I have nothing but the highest praise for the care and treatment the doctors, nurses, and other staff provided me. I'm especially impressed because they have been under so much pressure and overworked during the past year and a half due to the pandemic. 

In return for all that effort the Tory government has offered NHS staff a one per cent raise, well below inflation. Staff are now demanding a 15% raise. They deserve it. We should support them in any way we can. 

For my American readers: the total cost to me was £0.00. I won't be having another heart attack when the bills arrive. 

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