Monday, 23 November 2009

Health of the nation

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to my fellow blogger, Brigada Flores Magon, who's feeling rough after a spell in hospital. I heartily concur with Brigada's words of praise for the National Health Service: 'Yet again I was bowled over by the hard work, professionalism, cheerfulness, concern and sheer love shown by the people working at its front line.'

By coincidence, I too had a brush with the health service at the weekend: nothing to compare, really, just a trip to A & E for treatment of a very minor injury. But I, too, was struck by the dedication of those on duty. While I was in the treatment room, ambulance staff wheeled in a woman who had been in a road accident, strapped from head to foot on a stretcher, together with her baby daughter who had been asleep on the back seat of the car. Thank goodness neither was badly hurt, but I was mightily impressed by the care and attention lavished on them by the nurses and ambulance workers: they dealt with the situation with professionalism, care, and an appropriate dash of humour (even managing to make the injured parties laugh, which was quite something in the circumstances).

This was, of course, the weekend when the US Senate voted to proceed to a debate on the health care reform bill (well done, conservative Democrats, for stepping up to the plate). Googling my injury while deciding whether I needed to go to A & E, I came across a number of US-based forum discussions in which contributors urged their fellow sufferers to treat themselves at home and avoid a costly visit to the Emergency Room. Another reason to give thanks for the NHS. Come on, you Democrats: face down the turncoat Lieberman and go full-out for that public option.

1 comment:

sarah correia said...

I don't know about the national health system in the UK, but I have plenty of first hand experience of its portuguese equivalent, and despite some shortfalls that should be corrected, overall I feel really proud that my country manages to provide such health assistance to its population. Before its creating, infant mortality was on double digits, now it's one of the lowest in the world. Things like spine surgery, cancer treatments, transplants are free of charge. It costs a lot to the tax payer, but if it didn't exist my country would be much more poor.

But, while a country of 10 million people, or even one of 50 million, cannot afford to jeopardize the health of that part of the population who would never be able to afford a decent health coverage, in a country like the USA that part of the population is seen just as a burden. And since there are always millions of people willing to immigrate there, poor unskilled workers are 'dispensable'. This is the sad truth.