Posted by: Witch Doctor | July 5, 2013

When I’m sixty five


In The Witch Doctor’s absence, it only seems right that Her Black Cat commemorates the day the National Health Service becomes a pensioner.

5 July 1948


“Your new National Health Service begins on 5th July.

What is it?

How do you get it?

It will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone – rich or poor, man woman or child – can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a “charity”. You are all paying for it, mainly as taxpayers, and it will relieve your money worries in time of illness.”

The NHS has metamorphosed.

NOTE: “In times of illness”

They say money for healthcare is short. If that is indeed the case, perhaps we should revert to the principles of the original NHS. With the exception of immunisation, the detection of contagious diseases, and ensuring children received nutritional supplements, it was largely a National Illness Service. It was not overly concerned with warning, screening or medicating healthy people.

“National Illness Service” sounds negative and depressing. “National Health Service” sounds positive and invigorating. It is no wonder they chose the latter name.

But maybe, with hindsight, that was a mistake.

It gave society permission to dabble in preventive medicine. Nothing wrong with that – except that everything The Humankind touches upon has the habit of creeping into absurdity.

Perhaps warning, screening or treating healthy patients (clients?) should be regarded as “special items” that you pay for as you choose, but not through taxation. Perhaps charities might have a more important role here – a role that is less dubious than some have at present.

Regarding preventive medicine – perhaps the NHS should send a brief annual leaflet to every household advising how to live healthily, updated yearly as medical opinion changes as it not infrequently does. Patient choice.

And leave it at that.

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