I love the NHS.
I love the NHS, that's right, I love it. I am so relieved to get that off of my chest, you all now know my-not-so-secret love, deeper than the oceans and wider than space.
NHS. Three letters, or three words. National Health Service. Such romantic words, so originally named.
Of course I'm not having a romantic relationship with a public tax funded, government designed, political minefield of a health system, but I often feel like I might as well be. I'll say it one more time- I love the NHS.
But, WHY do I love the NHS so much?
Well the answer is obvious- it saved my life and it will have almost undoubtedly helped you at some point or another (we were all born once remember!) The NHS is a lifesaver, and I owe everything to it.
The NHS is like having only one teacher in your school, with the only other teaching option being private tuition. The NHS is like that teacher that you all can depend on, and everyone depends on so he/she invariably gets flustered, over worked and has far to much to deal with, and some students slip away. That teacher makes mistakes, sure but the get everyone through, and helps so so many get that grade at the end of term.
Yes, that was a terrible analogy. Makes a point though, right? (Can you analogise the NHS?)- I imagine people from other countries are boggled by it, free treatment for most conditions (and in Wales, free prescriptions as well!) It's surely one our countries greatest assets.
I will be the first to admit my 'lover' has some serious flaws - I had to get a private ultrasound scan myself pre-diagnosis, but only because my symptoms didn't warrant an emergency rushed-to-the-top scan - my gut 'knew' something was wrong. I wasn't symptomatic at the time. With my symptoms emergency wouldn't be the first thought, and cancer perhaps the last. Sure the NHS makes major mistakes, but all humans can make mistakes and it has more triumphs than failures.
Something that cropped up a lot in my mind during treatment was how thankful I was to have the NHS from a cost point of view; with a diabetic and epileptic sister, an asthmatic sister and the rest of my family being on/off iron tablets, blood pressure tablets, my mum already considered us NHS 'millionaires'. With my diagnosis, that was definitely confirmed.
Seriously though, cancer treatment costs a BOMB. It's pretty impossible to work out the bill for an individual treatment case, but some American healthcare websites quote Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma as costing around $10,000... a month, just in treatment costs. A month. Imagine... AND this was 'standard treatment' - most patients don't spend the inpatient time I did, nor did they have immunotherapy drugs or lumbar punctures.
Such America quote websites say a Bone Marrow Transplant cost upwards of $300,000, sometimes reaching $700,000. A simple, and for some, routine MRI costs around £1000. Pretty pricey right?
This priceyness of healthcare it the heart of why I love the NHS. Care and pure quality of treatment aside, the NHS means (on the whole) you can get the treatment you need, no quibbles, no money worries, ringing an insurance company needed. If you need that stem cell transplant, you go get it!
Sure the waiting times for things can be long- but that waiting means the difference for many in actually getting it done. Sure they may wait eight weeks, but with a private system, that procedure probably just won't happen. The NHS just provides in times of true need - in full, it provides £5BILLION worth of treatment... all for your tax contribution. Pretty good deal I think. Never moan about income tax again, thanks.
Do you see why I love it so much? Sure free health care is amazing, but there is something intrinsically incredible in my mind, and I see it as one of the biggest assets this country has.
Do you need more reasons to love it (I should think not, I'm awesome!) well I've got one. BABIES. We all love babies, at least to the extent of appreciating we were all one once. Most babies are born in hospital - thank you NHS.
Speaking of babies we all love an NHS documentary right? Even the made up ones are based on the NHS, and 'One born every Minute' is just something else...
Carrying on with babies, the NHS delivered the world's first test tube baby!
The NHS is awesome. I love it, and so should you. It may be cranky, slow, irritating and sometimes grubby but it saved my life. And probably yours. If not your life, it saved that ankle you bust riding your bike or stitched you up after trying to climb a fence drunk.
So to summarise seven reasons why I love the NHS.
It SAVED my life. It saves my sister's life EVERY DAY, providing her with insulin. It's FREE. It was founded by someone Welsh! *queue proud patriotism*
They are a world leader in awesome sciency, ground-breaking stuff, like hand transplants (!) They are one of the biggest employers in the world, providing us with thousands of awesome people!
It is rated the best healthcare provider. Says it all really.
I hope after reading this, you love the NHS just as much as me, and if you don't you like it just a little more. I just would not be here, typing away without it. Simple.
You can read more of Emily's blogs at www.remissionpossible.org.uk and get involved with her campaigns!