The letter N in my reasons to be cheerful Blogging from A to Z Challenge takes us, as you no doubt realise, just past the halfway mark.
If you're still jogging along with me I'm really pleased - in fact, it's another reason to be cheerful - and I'd just to like to remind everyone AGAIN that I welcome comments. The opportunity to comment on each blog post is at the bottom so give it a go.
So far, I don't think I've come up with a particularly political reason, but all that could change with N which is the National Health Service of the United Kingdom.
I absolutely and utterly believe that the NHS is a reason to be cheerful and one that we in Britain are in danger of letting slip through our fingers. Set up in 1948, the NHS provides a comprehensive range of healthcare the vast majority of which is free at the point of use having been paid for by taxation.
The best explanation I can think of for the rationale of the NHS comes from Labour politician Nye Bevan, who was Health Secretary at the time the NHS was founded.
He said: "Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community."
I fully accept that the NHS is a costly and flawed organisation which needs to be improved, but I find it difficult, not to say impossible, to accept that privatisation in its various forms is the way to bring about that improvement. Some may call it the introduction of private enterprise, I would describe it as finding ways to make money out of other people's misfortune.
While I would lay much of the blame for this approach in the NHS at the feet of the Tories, it has to be said that previous governments of all political persuasions have done little to enhance the NHS. The infamous private finance initiatives imposed on the NHS have, in my view, been a colossal disaster, resulting in NHS money going to banks and equity investors rather than being used on patient care.
I know many people, in my family and elsewhere, who have benefited from NHS treatment and I suspect there is a growing possibility that in Britain we are at risk of taking the service for granted. Thanks to the NHS the time when falling ill was not only a worry in itself, but also led to the added burden of trying to pay for treatment, is becoming a receding memory..
Nye Bevan has been dead more than half a century, but it would be a crying shame if another quote from him came to be applied to us now. "No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means." Let us hope that never comes true.
We might need a bit of music to cheer us up after all that, so here's Dr Feelgood performing Down at the Doctor's. I'm fairly certain it's not about a medical appointment, but never mind, eh?
- Question: What would you do to improve the NHS?