I love our NHS. Having a national health service that provides services based on need, rather than ability to pay is one of the things that makes the UK a great country. I know that if I need to see a doctor, a nurse, a specialist, or go into hospital I don’t have to worry about the cost. Some people have to pay set charges for prescriptions and dental care, but because I’m on a low income benefit (and can’t get out by myself) I don’t even have to pay for them.
The NHS is not perfect. Waiting times can be a bit long, there aren’t enough nurses in hospitals, some of the targets and paperwork mean that the professionals can’t do their jobs as effectively. Some places are just not up to a reasonable standard and need to improve. Individual doctors or other professionals may not be good enough, or have other problems. My solution to that would be to spend more money in the areas that matter and listen to the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals on what changes are needed, and make the sure the money is there. The government’s solution is to privatise it, bit by bit.
I’ve mostly had very good experiences in the NHS. My current GP is excellent, and although she may not know exactly how to help me (she’s admitted she knows very little about ME, especially severe ME) she’s willing to learn. She asks me what I would like her to do, and is quite happy to arrange anything that is reasonable (contacting my specialist, referral to an OT and a dietician). Most of my previous GPs have been excellent as well, which I’m very grateful for.
Most nurses have also done their best for me, and have been helpful and caring while providing whatever treatment I’ve needed. They may not always get it right, but nearly all of them try. The same with other healthcare professionals- most really want to help me, treat me well and care. My specialists have always been good at their jobs, and I’ve been reassured that they can help me, even with something as complex as ME.
I’m going to especially mention ambulance people here (I get confuzzled by the different types). Every single ambulance person, without fail, has been brilliant. They’ve always done their best to make sure I’m comfortable, helped me whenever I’ve needed them, and reassured me on many occasions that I’d done the right thing having them come out. I know they do a really hard job and yet they still care, can joke with me and treat me like a human being.
I’m not the easiest patient to treat. My autism makes communicating difficult, and can make it hard for me to give the information that is needed to help me. I often have symptoms that I can’t always pin down. I don’t react to pain or other things the way that people expect. I have often had strange reactions to medication, sometimes after taking them for a while. ME is a complicated illness with lots of different symptoms are varying severity and also makes the communication difficulties I already had worse. Nearly all the professionals I’ve dealt with have tried to work around these, and still treated me like any other patient.
I have had some bad experiences, and some professionals that haven’t acted as they should have. There have been some events that just shouldn’t have occurred. However, this is not a failing of the NHS as a whole. Mental health services in particular need to improve. This isn’t justification for privatisation however.
I’m scared for the future. Right now, I know that if I need to see my GP, she’ll come to my home if I need her to and she’ll do her best. If I need to go into hospital, I can do so and if needed a brilliant ambulance service will take me there. I don’t have to worry about my ability to pay at all. With the NHS being slowly privatised, that may not be the case in the future. The NHS needs more money, not cuts. It shouldn’t be run as a business.
I’m lucky. The NHS has saved my life and the people working within it that treat me are doing their best to help me be as well as is possible. I’m not sure that will be the case in the future.
(Health update- I ate a yoghurt and a banana at bit earlier as the hunger was getting to me, and I felt dizzy and weak from low blood sugar. I got severe indigestion and nausea, but no gallstone like pain. That was still the case after having some Revels as well. I think my body is trolling me. I’m hoping that the gallstone like pain has gone completely now, but will see how things are tomorrow as I’ve had an anti nausea tablet and it’s making me very sleepy.)