A red rose as it is St George’s Day. Also Shakespeare’s and Turner’s birthday.
I am hopeful that the x-rays are going to tell a good story; healed bones and no nudging pins. Certainly I am far more confident with the exercises. The first time I removed the cast I was terrified of doing damage. I felt that my hand might just fall off. Now, I am relaxed enough to let my skin have some post exercise air and it has slowly been looking less dry, though today another layer is ready to be sloughed off.
Octavia reckons I may just be sent home with some tubigrip which would be amazing.
I’ll see a physio tomorrow too, and then I guess they’ll be booking me in for a series of sessions.
I understand last night’s Question Time saw another attcak on the NHS. We are, I believe, being slowly primed to think that the NHS is no good and we would be better off with private health insurance. The papers regularly carry health service sacre stories. Well, here is one from the other side of the pond. I met a man who worked in insurance in the US. He asked me about my wrist and I explained about the fall and then waiting a day for the op. I was told at the hospital there is a window of around nine days when they can perform surgery to fix fractures like mine. The man told me that in the US some people do not get that surgery as their insurance companies argue it is not necessary and that window of opportunity passes. He had worked on cases like these. He was shocked when I said we are being fed these anti NHS tales. I was shocked by his story.
Here’s another. Not from across the pond, but from London when the NHS was introduced. My mother told it to me. She was nursing before the NHS, during its introduction and afterwards. She was immensely proud to be part of it. Women from poorer families often never saw a doctor. Money would be found for the men, the major wage earners, and for the children, but women were expected to manage. When the NHS began, they turned up at the hospital where my mother was working. They had prolapsed wombs; their wombs hanging outside their bodies between their legs. Only a simple procedure was needed to remedy their condition, but it was one their families had been unable or unwilling to afford. Free health care made, and continues to make, a huge difference to women’s lives.
Born into a generation that has always taken free health care as a given, it is easy to forget how dire things were for the most vulnerable in the past. We are increasingly encouraged to view people who visit their GP regularly as scroungers and malingerers. Much is made of those who abuse the system, and yes, those people do exist, but every time it comes down to facts, we find those abuses are far less widespread than some newspapers would suggest. The same is true of the much hyped health tourism stories.
Instead of sniping at the sidelines, and destroying a service founded on the principles of free health care at the point of use and clinical need, we should be thanking our lucky stars we live in a country where, for now, this service exists. And the next time someone suggests we would be better off with private health service, ask the to explain how profit margins improve care. It is easy to declare we cannot afford the NHS. I contend we cannot afford to let leave health care to those who would make money from it, whose ideal patients would not include the frail, the vulnerable, the most needy, the poor.
Outside our old health centre there is a quote from Cicero: The Health of the People is the Highest Law. My friend Celia says politicians should have it tatooed on their foreheads.
I liked this letter in The Guardian newspaper at the beginning of this month too. When Helen Holt gives the call, we should all rush to man the barricades.
Every NHS doctor, every day, sees a disproportionate number of patients with illness caused by poverty and the associates of poverty – smoking, obesity, alcohol, drug use, domestic violence. The NHS should be predominantly paid for by those whose privilege is to need it least. Then it will be there for all of us when we need it. This is how tax works.
Dr Helen Holt
Consultant physician, Bournemouth