disability, lifestyle, mental health, politics

Happy Birthday NHS

Totally disregarding my political leaning, the NHS is such an important necessity. I feel this on  personal and emotional level. Today, this beautiful creation of the welfare state, a creation much older than my 18 year old self, turns 69 years old.

In 1948 the National Health Service was formed in the UK. Shockingly, not all countries benefit from a system similar to our NHS (and I’m talking about in the western world, too- just take a look at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act- commonly known as ‘Obamacare’- in the US and the controversies surrounding it). Personally, I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want such a marvellous system- paying for extraordinary money funding through tax, rather than having to fork out hundreds to potentially save your life when the chances are you won’t be able to afford it, or I know in my financial and medical situation I would be totally screwed; quite honestly the thought of having to start paying for prescriptions next year is terrifying because I already know the hefty monthly bill will be more than I can afford.

Of course, the NHS has it’s issues; The mental health waiting list is quite frankly unacceptable, waiting times can be hellishly long in A&E and to try and get a surgery appointment unless it’s classed as an ’emergency’, but that’s not actually the fault of the NHS, it’s more so the government. The medical profession is something highly competitive (I know from having friends apply for medical courses to uni this year) so it’s not as if they don’t have potential resources, it’s just the government’s choice not to allow the NHS to access them.

Anyway, I’m moving on from that for now as this is a positive post about the NHS rather than a rant about the government.

I think the recent events in the UK have also highlighted the importance of our emergency services; the incredibly quick responses to the recent terror incidents and equality of treatment by the NHS highlights how important the service truly is. But we shouldn’t just thank the staff in times of national crisis. My good friend Steph works for the NHS, and though I haven’t ever been treated by her, I’ve thanked her even so, for being a part of the NHS. The treatment to patients she gives is so important and she deserves to be thanked. Every staff member deserves to be thanked on the daily for their amazing treatment of patients and how hardworking they are. So, here: Do you work for the NHS? Well. Thank you. Thank you so much for everything.

The truth about the NHS is that without it, I have friends who wouldn’t be alive. My mum made a joke about how I always seem to make friends with unwell people, but unfortunately it is true that I do have quite a few close friends who are unwell. My two best friends are severely chronically ill, for example, and if you’ve seen my recent blog posts, you’ll know I was friends with a beautiful soul called Hannah and despite losing her, without the NHS her life would not have been extended so far. Aside from even my friends, I myself suffer from many disabilities, chronic illnesses and mental health issues, and it really does suck. Being ill sucks and not knowing how to respond to ‘get well soon’ when you know you won’t goddamn sucks. But without the NHS would I be here? Probably not. I would be in a lot more pain, I’d be a lot more ill and with no help with my mental health. It would not be a fun situation, and I hate to admit it but I have friends who would probably not be here without the NHS. Hell, tlking about it any more is too close to home because I know who I would have lost for sure and I can’t bear to even think about that or recall the ‘nearly’ memories.The NHS is close to me personally as I may have lost many friends and family members without the NHS, and as horrible as it is to think, you, reading this, probably can relate to that.

It also shouldn’t take the threat of someone’s life being taken to treat a patient or that would be a flawed system, hence how important even getting antibiotics for, say, tonsillitis is. There are other important things the NHs can help with too, for example, I have a few friends who are transgender. In other countries, transitioning would be so hard. It would be unaffordable- my trans friends here have a chance to transition on the NHS which is so important. I can’t highlight the importance of someone transitioning who wishes to enough, and they really do deserve to be able to do that under a safe service such as the NHS.

Yes, some of those people may have been able to afford private healthcare if our welfare state service wasn’t an option, but I know many of us wouldn’t. Hell, in my families financial situation I dread to think how life would be right now with family members, my own illnesses… We couldn’t afford even the basics.

I just really wanted to highlight the important of our NHS on a personal level, no politics involved. It’s probably not even coherent because it does encounter real emotions and experiences, so I’m sorry about that, but our NHS is so important.

If you want some NHS stats, this Evening Standard article is quite interesting.

Also, it would be great if you sign the NHS birthday card to help us save the NHS and highlight it’s importance!

So, Happy Birthday NHS. I hope you live on.

Lauren Curr.

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