The forgotten weapon that could help save the NHS

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It’s been a month now since one Mr. Jeremy Hunt, duly appointed Secretary of Health and best friend to rhyming slang, insulted the country’s entire medical staff. A month since the backlash against lies and innuendo supported by twisted facts and figures. A month since social media seemed to go in to meltdown with demands for his resignation, for the truth about his accusations to be laid bare. After that month, and the dust having settled a little, there are some steps being taken to remedy the situation, even if much of the country are still unaware there is a situation to remedy.
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I’m not here to tell you why we need to save our NHS. I can’t think of another way to say what I have already shouted for my last four articles. Instead I’m more interested in how we are going to save it. If you follow me on social media you’ll have seen me mention a new website www.nhssurvival.org. This website is set up and run by medics and patients, all wanting to preserve the free health care that this country has been lucky to have for the last 70 years. One of its missions is to call for a “Royal Commission on the NHS”, the idea being  it would “allow decisions about the NHS to be made by patients, public and professionals – not politicians”. Now as easy, and as right as it is to lay blame of the state of our health service at the feet of politicians (and lets be honest, almost a little fun) this cannot be the only remedy we should be pursuing to save the NHS.
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I talked in a previous post about the phenomenon of the “worried well” – people subjected to the disinformation by the media and the twisted facts and figures of the politicians, who feel they are more important than the next. It’s a culture of self-preservation and selfishness that has grown around us for decades – a far cry from when the NHS was first created, in the smoking ruins of the UK emerging from World War 2. In 1945 this country had nothing, and yet the people pulled together to look after everyone. Now I’m not exactly the most patriotic person you’ll meet, but if you are wondering why this country is called Great Britain, this is a huge reason! For an entire nation to band together the way it did after such a relentless pummelling is nothing short of heroic, and here we are, almost three quarters of a century later, watching it unravel.
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The only way to combat this systemic issue of an increasingly insular society is with education. An entire generation has grown up thinking that it’s ok to waste the time of the health service (and if you read the news you can add the police and fire departments to that list as well). It’s not ok. There was a time when, if you felt there was something wrong with you, you would talk to a family member or a friend to get some advice, instead of rocking up to your GP’s with a sniffle that could be easily gotten rid off by a few gulps of Lemsip (other cold remedies are also available).

Learning how to take care of yourself should be part of the national curriculum. Knowing how your countrys health service is operated and paid for should be compulsory education. Obviously we have first aid, sex education etc. but it should go further than that. We should be sharing how the NHS actually works, its roots. The National Health Service has it’s place in history lessons, science, physical education, social studies (I’m assuming these still exist in school since I left last century?!) The goverments health and education departments should be working together to help solve this problem that they have, be it directly or indirectly created. There are people out there walking around who still believe doctors work 9-5 Monday to Friday and still have time for a weekly 18 hole round of golf. It’s not their fault, it’s what they’ve heard through the rumour mill. Replace the rumour with facts and the NHS will be in a much better position simply because the people who use it will understand it.

A royal commission is essential to keeping the NHS out of the hands of politicians, many of whom have direct links to private health care firms that stand to make substantial financial gains were the NHS to be privatised. Education will help the doctors and nurses, who face an increased work load partly due to those “worried well”, who will be better informed on how to deal with their symptoms without having to seek medical attention, or if that attention is needed who best to see.
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I’m not a doctor, I’m just someone who is frustrated by the appalling situation within this country regarding its health service. I refuse to believe that the only way we can get away from this selfish insular society and back to that idea of helping each other is to go through another barbaric conflict. We are better than that. We have to be.

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If we want to Improve our country, we need to take responsibility for it.

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Yesterday I walked through the front door with my son. As ever the post was there waiting. While I put our coats away he did his sorting of the mail, and suddenly he stopped. He threw one piece on the ground. He shouted, angrily. It was weird because usually he tries to eat the post, but on this occasion this one piece was going nowhere near his mouth.

I should probably explain here that my son is just over a year old. He’s like a hyperactive puppy on amphetamines. Usually such a happy kid, but right now he was angry. He was shouting (and by now stamping on) a flyer from our local UKIP candidate, who is of course trying to drum up support before May 7th. In our house, like in many UK households, we’ve all been paying close attention to the debates and the interviews from all the politicians. Like all the pundits are saying, it’s a really close call. Yet as claims and counter-claims between political parties, putting out policies only to have them criticised and debunked, it’s become difficult to trust or believe any of them. You could probably argue this is the natural progression of any democratic election campaign. I trust Nigel Farage though.

Let me clarify; I do not trust any of the political parties to be able to solve our problems in the UK. I do trust UKIP, however, to run our country in to the ground. My reason is very simple; their slogan of “Believe in Britain”, while catchy, is completely misleading. They are asking us to believe in a Britain that doesn’t exist.

Famously UKIP’s target for blame with all the problems in this country lies with immigrants. Mr. Farage has even had the audacity to claim that “the immigrants” are the reason our National Health Service is overstretched and in seemingly endless debt.  Every time I have been in to A&E (the rate has increased slightly since the kids came along) I have never, if rarely seen “the immigrants” sat waiting for attention. Mind there was one who looked like his broken his arm. Think we can all agree that’s pretty serious. Most of the other “non-immigrants” were, yes, waiting with quite serious injuries too– fractured skulls, concussions. Then there were those with “a cold that hasn’t gone away in two days”, or their “hair was turning grey”. Someone even had “itchy teeth”. And no, I’m not making this up. And no, these people were not immigrants. They were UK nationals who felt that they deserved to be seen for these “conditions” because they pay their taxes. That it’s their right to be seen.

Immigration is not destroying our NHS – lack of education is. Kids are receiving sexual health lessons, why not general health education? Teach our kids about the NHS, how it works, which services to use when. This would work against people developing some kind of self-entitled hypochondria and turning up with a diagnosis they themselves found on Google, demanding anti-biotics for a virus from a trained medical professional whose time could be much better spent attending to people with serious conditions. Most people, and I include “the immigrants” in this statement, speak to people, ask friends, family members about their concerns. They do not waste the A&E service. It stands for Accident and Emergency, not All & Everything.

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In other UKIP news, the European Union is bad. We should leave it. No, we shouldn’t. Now I realise that a referendum is a fair way off, but I wanted to get this off my chest. No, the EU is not perfect, and it does need reform. Britain should be at the forefront of that reform, not running off sulking in a corner when they don’t get their way.

The EU is like one giant childs birthday party at a creche. Young Britain has been invited by all his friends to come and roll around in the softplay. But Britain doesn’t want to go in the softplay, he wants to see a magic show instead. When he doesn’t get his way he threatens to leave. The other kids don’t like Britain when he behaves so naughty, so they turn away leaving him to cry in to his juice box. Now because Britain has been so rude, Little france and Germany and all the other children don’t like him any more. They don’t want to play with him. This is what I see happening if we leave the EU, and I firmly believe it will do more harm than good to leave the ‘party’ in a spoilt huff, rather than getting in there with the softplay and slowly convincing the others to maybe see a magic show later.

I do not believe that UKIP is lying in it’s manifesto, in it’s debates. To lie about something is to have full knowledge that what you’re saying is untrue. They believe in their policies because they cannot see the UK’s position in the real world. Yes, we’re in dangerous times, often feeling like we’re on the brink (largely thanks to a media system that thrives on promoting fear to create a need for control. More on Rupert Murdoch in a future article from me I’m sure!). If we start denying “the immigrants” access to our country simply because they are from another country, if we do not take responsibility for our own actions as UK nationals and how we treat our own fragile resources and services instead of blaming others, if we don’t stay part of an admittedly flawed system and try to fix it, we are simply denying our responsibility and place we have in this world. We would be outcasts, forgotten and left to regress back to the dark ages, rather than trying to forge a better future for the next generation.

It’s always easier to turn back against a head wind, rather than push on against the elements to where you could go.

I was going to put up a picture of that UKIP flyer I mentioned. Unfortunately my wife came home, picked it up and tore it to shreds, so sorry about that. She always hated crap in the house.