Today - 5th July 2018 - the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is 70 years old. There have been plenty of celebrations to mark this milestone of one of the nations most loved institutions, the role it plays in our everyday lives and to be thankful for the extraordinary staff that guide, support and care for us, day in, day out. But tonight, whilst reading some of the media reports about how the NHS was started, and how far it's come, I realised that I most definitely have had my money's worth out of the Service...
|Photo Credit : NHS England|
Without The NHS...
- I couldn't have been mended after getting run over in Lytham after work in August 1988
- I couldn't have had any of my babies, surrounded by the best medical team, top-of-the-range equipment and a back-up system if any urgent attention was needed during the birth
- My daughter wouldn't have had her cancer diagnosis, the initial early treatment, life-saving operations and 15 years of after-care leading up to her final discharge at age 16
- My eldest son would have a wonky nose after a rather nasty fight at school or walk again after breaking his neck and pelvis in a severe car accident
- My youngest son wouldn't have been diagnosed with ADHD early enough to have received the appropriate support at school, been put back together at least four times after breaking bones, had two false front teeth provided after another accident or avoided a high-risk situation that involved an emergency removal of his appendix at 12.30am
- I would still be suffering with a variety of gynaecological issues which was fixed after six operations, the final one being a full hysterectomy at age 31
- My mum wouldn't have had the best palliative care from her "second family" on the ward which she spent most of her final years suffering with bronchiecstasis
- My husband wouldn't receive the much needed medication and support to help him cope with a variety of mental health issues that have crippled his life for over twenty years.
... and many more situation that are easily forgotten about and dismissed such as contraception, pregnancy testing and sexual health services, quick visits to the GP for reassurance, immunisations, x-rays for suspected broken body parts, fast response emergency services, eye tests and eye care for my children, audiology and hearing aids for one of my grandchildren, pathology results, and everything else that I haven't mentioned.
In fact, I asked this very same question on my Facebook feed. The responses are eye opening.
One reply, sent to me privately, was this:
Last year I had emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in a tube removal as well as the pregnancy loss. Traumatic at the time but I am so so grateful to then not receive a bill for the procedure. Can you imagine? ''Sorry you lost your baby, here's a massive bill for the pleasure".
Also, there is an overwhelming amount of my friends that I would never have met if their lives hadn't been saved in various circumstances, whether that be a stroke, a cancer diagnosis, complications during single and multiple births, the knowledge that many procedures would still not be covered by insurance as they aren't in America, mental health services, medication and prescriptions in general, oxygen to actually keep breathing in and out, treatment for severe burns, and finally a few people who are grateful and proud to be a part of the NHS team who hold various job roles within the organisation.