Dear President Obama,
As the leader of the free world I am sure you have many things on your mind. Unrest in the Middle East, President Putin, Donald Trump, China, Syria, Islamic State - I can only begin to imagine what your diary must look like.....no wonder you have become the silver fox of world politics (I am hoping flattery will get me everywhere).
My existence is somewhat simpler as a Junior Doctor in the British National Health Service. My diary does have its own complexities, however, in the sense of the rota I work - no week is ever the same. I cover late-shifts, nights, weekends and even the odd 9-5 - Mr Cameron would perhaps have you believe we don't already have a 24/7, 365 a year health service but I assure you we do.
Each patient I see also lends their own complexity to my world. Everyone's physiology has its qwerks and no sick patient seems to play by the rules. My world is dominated by self-doubt as well as by life and death decisions made at all hours under huge pressure, with limited information. My world is riddled with mistakes and regrets - all doctors have their ghosts which follow them.
But then I don't need to tell you any of this - again I can only begin to imagine...
What I do know, however, is that in your 2 terms as president you have been partly defined for your attempts at healthcare reform. The "Affordable Care Act" - otherwise fondly known as "Obamacare" has laid a foundation stone for the revolution of American healthcare. It has already dropped the number of uninsured Americans from 15.2% to 9.2% - and I am sure if you had your way that would be 0% uninsured. You are rightly revered throughout the world for this ideal.
There is thankfully a simplicity in my world which resides in the foundations of our NHS - a health care system which has blossomed quite stunningly from the ashes of WWII. We treat all citizens, regardless of wealth or status, from cradle to grave. The cost of this? 9.7% of our GDP - about half of US expenditure - and we do not have the "uninsured" to worry about. Coverage by the state ensures there are no tales of people bankrupted. No tales of patients turned away in their hour of need. As a doctor I get to treat ALL of my patients based on their medical needs with only their best interests at heart. I am in a position to treat anyone and everyone based on need and an evidence base - not greed and a balance sheet.
It is a beautiful place to work Mr President. Nye Bevan is our hero in this tale - fighting successfully for its implementation in 1948. Could you imagine it Mr President? Not fighting for a 5% drop in the population uninsured but for a health service that provides comprehensive healthcare for ALL - no strings attached. Yes it has its problems but with a core of empathy, care and compassion can we really go too far wrong?
Our NHS is under attack, Mr President, from a conservative government hell bent on tearing it apart in the name of profit and greed. They are dismantling it and idolising the American system because it would prove so fruitful for the rich. They are aiming for a system that you have fought so hard to reform - we have everything you have fought for, everything that you would love to provide for your citizens.
With the greatest of respect, Mr President, we don't want what you have.
In 2006 in a speech aimed at the African Nations you said "In the end, if the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost". Amen to that sir. Amen.
The NHS protects the British people and unashamedly promotes their common welfare. I have treated the homeless and I have treated lords of the realm. I have done this without bias or prejudice against either group - again a beautiful place to work. This government seems to have lost their way.
We need some heavy-weight help sir.
You have achieved much as the leader of the free world Mr President but I ask for one small favour. Come out in defence of the NHS. We are fighting for everything you would love to have for your own people, everything you have fought so hard for.
I am forever told that I am naive and idealistic - that I do not understand the complexities of politics. I live in hope this is true - I am not interested in Mr Cameron's feelings nor that of any other politician. I firmly believe there are some absolutes which transcend politics and are non-negotiable. Access to healthcare for all is one of these absolutes.
If our generation is to watch over the loss of our NHS then it will be a national disgrace which will define our children's lives and indeed their deaths.
Please Mr President stand with us. We have reached tipping point - it is balanced precariously. We are not politicians and our lack of a media platform confirms this. Every lie and deception put forward by this government is backed by a media machine that is as relentless as it is powerful in the minds of the public.
We need a handsome, silky-smooth, silver fox in our corner. A real statesman who transcends politics and simply makes a stand for what is right. Our government is selling out its people - they are out of touch and threaten the future of millions in the name of ignorance and greed.
In 1948 Nye Bevan, the then Minister of Health said "The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it". That faith burns bright in the masses of the British People Mr President, but the darkness is creeping in and a spark from across the pond could make all the difference.
Dr Chris JamesSuggest a correction