Why I love the NHS (and why we mustn’t let it go)

No one believed the 2011 NHS Reform Bill would pass. With growing opposition and hugely influential medical groups, we thought, we hoped, it wouldn’t go ahead.

And who are “we” exactly? A militant minority group? No. We are the majority. We are teachers, parents, bus drivers, cleaners, nurses, doctors, surgeons, academics, specialists. Some of us work in the private sector, some of us work in the public sector. Some of us aren’t able to work.

Even NHS professionals strongly oppose the bill, including influential groups such as the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of GPs. According to The Guardian, 7 in 10 doctors oppose the bill.

The official petition to drop the health bill has reached well over 10000 which is what’s needed to get the matter re-looked at. It didn’t happen.

Even Lib Dems got cold feet, and some Tory backbenchers started to voice their concerns. Nothing happened.

Lansley, Cameron and their team have pressed ahead and now the bill has been passed, following last night’s vote in the House of Lords.

As a disabled person, I have relied entirely on the NHS. As a child it felt like I was rarely out of hospital for operations, tests and scans. You name it, I had it.

I could probably write a good hospital guide for every London hospital, let alone ones in Wales, Sheffield and Crewe.

It was not fun being a child of the NHS, but without it, billions like me would not be alive today.

Because the NHS is free, I have had around 10 major operations. Not as many as some, but enough. Major operations on my foot, my leg, my hand, my abdomen, my ovaries and my face.

Because the NHS is free I was able to have bone scans, xrays, CAT scans,  MRI scans, internal ultra sounds, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, blood tests and barium enemas.

Because the NHS is free, I was able to have cosmetic eyes, artificial legs, cosmetic surgery on my face to correct birth deformities and numerous leg splints.

Because the NHS is free, they saved my life when I took a huge overdose when I was 21 and when they thought I’d broken my spine after a fall.

Because the NHS is free, I was able to have psychotherapy, couselling, CBT and DBT.

Because the NHS is free I received the treatment I needed. It wasn’t always perfect, waiting lists were long and my family had to fight to make sure I got the right care. But the NHS has been a life saver  and over the years, the NHS with their determined overworked nurses, kind doctors and sympathetic consultants improved my quality of life.

Yes, there were a few rude or difficult NHS professionals along the way, but I was almost never denied treatment.

From the bottom of my heart, I am truly grateful to them all for all their hardwork and determination and desire to cure or at least, improve.

Everyone has used the NHS at some point in their lives, whether it’s a GPs appointment, a trip to A&E with a broken arm or something more complex.

We all rely on it, apart from the privileged few who can afford private care.

The NHS reform bill is paving the way to privitisation through back-door private sector dealing. The first step, implemented by this bill is to encourage greater competition with the private sector. The next step will be to privatise the NHS in its entirety, and ultimately, we will have to pay for a health service that is as far from the original principles of the NHS than it’s ever been.

They say they just want to improve patient  care. They believe it is best done by ‘greater competition’ and closer working with the private sector. But how can that be? A business is there primarily for profit, rarely, if ever, for consumer (a private sector word) choice. Profit is what the private sector is all about. Not ‘improved patient care.’

It is the private sector because it works for profit. Profit and the NHS should never go together.

If this bill was really about patient care, they would stop closing hospitals and specialist units. They would throw money at the NHS trusts (what is left of them) and they would increase the wages overworked nurses, doctors and other NHS staff. That will improve patient care.

Update: Shadow Health Secretary has requested an emergency Commons debate on the publication of the NHS Risk Register which would delay Royal Assent.

Publishing the Risk Register is crucial: it details the long term and short term consequences if the NHS Reform Bill goes ahead. Naturally, pro-Reform Bill campaigners don’t want it published.

To me, the Risk Register is a bit like a defendant’s guilty history. Allowing the jury to know about his or her past crimes could influence their decision on the sentence. Yet whilst withholding a defendent’s past criminal history to the jury is a  ‘fair trial’, choosing to withhold the NHS Risk Register is deliberately withholding crucial information that the public NEEDS to know.


Total list of groups and organisations against the NHS Reform Bill

With thanks to the International Citizen and The Guardian.

  • The Faculty of Public Health
  • The Royal College of Nursing
  • The Royal College of Midwives
  • The Royal College of GPs
  • The British Medical Association
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
  • The Royal College of Anaesthetists
  • The Royal College of Ophthalmologists
  • The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • The Royal College of Pathologists
  • The Royal College of Physicians
  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • The Royal College of Radiologists
  • The College of Occupational Therapists
  • The British Dietetic Association
  • The Institute for Healthcare Management
  • Unison
  • MiP
  • GMB Union
  • The College of Occupational Therapists
  • The Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association
  • The Financial Times Newspaper
  • British Orthodontic Society
  • British Dental Association
  • British Geriatrics Society
  • British Psychological Society
  • Managers in Partnership
  • Patients Association
  • Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists
  • Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
  • Royal College of Surgeons
  • Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists
  • Society of Radiographers
  • The Allied Health Professions Federation
  • Unite
  • The Guardian Newspaper



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