Ode to the NHS

I’ve had two hospital stays this year. Both times I left hospital I wanted to hug it out with the doctors and nurses. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the advanced medical treatment I received and the doctors’ and nurses’ care and help, but to them it’s all in a day’s work.

It always amazes me that our doctors and nurses do their best to fix us regardless of our shitty lifestyle choices that make their jobs harder. They help us regardless of who we are, what we do, or what we contribute to the world. They even feed us, for fuck’s sake. There’s no reason for them to feed us. And they do all of this without asking us to pay for what we take.

If my maths is right, the UK government spends roughly £2,200 per person on health care each year. If we lost the NHS, the government wouldn’t ask, ‘How would you like this money back? New infrastructure? More books in schools? A tax rebate?’ It would get sucked up elsewhere. It would be ‘balancing the books’. We’d have less but still pay the same taxes. I’ve gone private a few times. An initial consultation normally costs £200. £2,200 wouldn’t go far. Besides, the experts you pay for privately often work for the NHS too. And the MRI machine I used privately was identical to the one I used with the NHS.

There’s a Louis CK clip called Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy about ingratitude and over entitlement. He talks about people complaining about newly installed WiFi on a plane not working instead of marvelling that they’re sitting in a chair, in the sky. I think people who complain about the NHS need to heed his lesson. The NHS might not be perfect but improving anything rarely starts with shitting all over it or failing to recognise the good that’s already there.

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