What you will never read in the tabloid headlines...

  • 12,000 patients left for 12 hours on trolleys - Daily Mail
  • Two-tier plan to solve crisis in A&E service - The Guardian
  • NHS Nurse Shut Baby in Cupboard - The Sun
  • Doctors Deserting A&E - The Times
  • Foreign NHS Cheats Push Aside Cancer Patients - Sunday Express
  • Hospital Hit by Fresh Fears over Falsified Cancer Records - The Observer
  • Hospital Food Investigation as Patients Fed on £4 a Day - The Herald
  • Babies and Mothers at Risk from Midwife Shortage - the i
  • Warning to Doctors as Threat of Superbug Resurfaces - The Herald
  • Crisis in Maternity Care 'Putting Lives at Risk' - The Independent
  • Boy Victim of Hospital in Police Probe - Daily Mail
  • Hospital 'Fakes' Cancer Records - the i
  • Hospitals Full to Bursting - The Times
  • Hospital Faces Claim of Cancer Care Cover-Up - The Guardian

That is just one week of front page headlines from the national daily newspapers... And this is by no means the worst for NHS-kicking. 
I've said it before and I will say it again, and again and again, the NHS may have its faults... underfunding frontline services and unreasonable expectations from some patients and their families/friends not helping... and the bureaucracy would drive you bananas, but I am so glad we have a health system where an unemployed diabetic can expect the same level of care as a multi-millionaire business executive with piles! Much better that than the "only rich people allowed to be ill" systems of many other nations, even the half-baked Obama-care system which, it seems to an outsider, doesn't really provide universal health care access, but still keeps the health insurance business smiling.
And I am doubly blessed, not only experiencing the care of the staff for myself and members of my family, but also having the privilege of serving as an NHS chaplain. Thanks to technical problems and the aforementioned bureaucracy we are having problems with patient referrals at the moment, which means that 2 or three times a week at least I am actually recommending that people write letters of complaint about the poor chaplaincy provision... but I am also frequently suggesting that patients take time to thank other staff for their care, because they often only get the brickbats... But it usually doesn't require me to prompt patients to express their thanks... 
To balance up the headlines above, here are some of the comments I have received from patients and their families recently... Sadly they are unlikely to make it onto a tabloid headline...
  • When they saw what was happening I was straight through A&E without stopping
  • I've been paying for private health care for years and stopped last year when I retired, but I genuinely don't think I would have got any better care anywhere 
  • The midwives here are almost part of my family... they've laughed with me and cried with me 
  • I've experienced health care all over the world and I've never had better than here...
  • If I had this condition in [my home country] I'd be dead by now...
  • I have absolute confidence in the staff here...
  • The food's fine... so long as you avoid the lasagna...
  • I only arrived in the airport on Wednesday morning... and was having emergency surgery on my hand 8 hours later... but I can think of no-where else I'd rather have it
  • The nurses here never stop...
  • The registrar came round to see me after 10 on the Sunday night and said he would be back first thing the next mornign and he was as good as his word
  • Thank God for the man who invented morphine...
  • The guys here have given me options that I didn't think I had a week ago
  • The staff here and down in [the cancer care day ward] are absolute saints and angels...
On behalf of these patients...Thanks.



Anonymous said…
Well said David.

Living in the Republic with its inequitable two tier public health system and rapidly spiraling costs of private health insurance (even if it also has hugely underrated staff and care once you are in), I look North, read of constant moans about the NHS in the media and think how thankless and incessently demanding a rights culture is becoming. Any experience I have had of friends and family in the NHS has been brillliant.

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