One of my earliest postings on this blog; My Sweeping NHS Reforms concerned my fantasy reforms of the National Health Service - the majority of which I still stand by.
On the eve of the 60th Anniversary of its inception, I think about all the men, women and children born pre-5th July 1948 who were promised healthcare 'from the cradle to the grave' by the State and were given the NHS basically as national reward and recognition for the privations and suffering they endured through World War II, whether they be de-mobbed soldier, long-suffering civilian or evacuated child. That and the guilty fact that Joe Public got bugger all by way of national reward and the much-vaunted 'homes fit for heroes' after World War I.
It is doubly appalling to me when anyone from this generation is denied NHS drugs or care, not only on account of everything they went through during WWII whether adult or child to secure the future of this nation, but because they were promised this care, and the majority paid contributions all their working lives towards it.
I wonder why none of them (or their families if they are too ill themselves) has yet gone to the European Court of Human Rights to defend their right to this national promise made to them.
Glittering 'polyclinic' re-launches of the NHS butter no parsnips with me when layers of re-branding, management and unnecessary new PFI-disaster hospital buildings even less light, airy and value for money than the old (and just as dirty), divert money away from the sick who need it, and some of whom were born with a right to it.
When the pre-1948 generation pass from living memory, then will be the time to consider root and branch reform of the NHS if it does not find a natural and sensible balance between advances in medicine and over-demand in-between times, but not until.
Happy Anniversary NHS! Your days of being 'the envy of the world' may be long gone, but you were a good idea and can be so again if only the powers that be display some honour and common sense in the administration of your ministrations.
As the Hippocratic Oath that all new doctors used to have to swear before commencing practice puts it; 'First, do no harm.'
And not all medical advance is for the better…concrete fatigue is a terrible way to go!