Doctors should be paid salaries of “a million pounds” and people are afraid that the NHS will be privatised, locals in Birmingham have told HuffPost UK.
The NHS, and personal health concerns, came up often when people were asked what they cared about for HuffPost Listens, a project which saw our reporters go out in the city and listen to people.
Fears of too much investment being put into NHS management rather than the frontline, and doctors not being paid or supported enough, emerged through more than 100 interviews.
Joanna Watson felt the public is lucky that doctors make the “sacrifice” to take on their roles, when they “work for hours without food or water”.
Ellis Jones said he was shocked that those in the public sector who “save people” did not get higher salaries, adding that doctors should be paid “a million pounds in my eyes”.
Margaret Robinson spoke about the effects of cuts that she has seen touching the NHS and other sectors.
While Peter Barton feared that the NHS is “clearly being set up to privatise”, lamenting that “to flog it off at will to mates who are millionaires is utterly wrong”.
“It belongs to me and everyone, I’ve chipped into it,” he told HuffPost.
Dan Castle echoed these thoughts and concluded “the NHS is so political now”, and that any claims that political parties make about improving the service are no longer believed by the public.
Throughout HuffPost’s interviews with ordinary people in Birmingham, many also shared personal stories of health problems and discrimination.
Sam Williams, a wheelchair user, said that someone had moved his wheelchair last week - without asking - while he was in it, and that “people and companies are not always supportive of my needs”.
Steve Rowe, who has epilepsy, said people in his situation were “not treated equally” to those with other conditions.
Mental health was a frequently recurring topic. Alexander Haughin said he knows two people who have died by suicide, and believes that mental health problems for young white men are overlooked.
Yassar Siddique, who has himself suffered poor mental health, told HuffPost that the government didn’t seem to understand the daily struggles it can create - affecting simple tasks like paying bills.
Daniel Cox, who has been sober for seven months after lengthy alcohol and drug addictions, said there was only one recovery centre in Birmingham that is “severely overworked”.
Air pollution was raised by several people who felt it was affecting health in the city, and was exacerbated by trees being cut down and congestion from vehicles.
HuffPostListens – Birmingham
HuffPost wants to get out of the media bubble and tell the real story of the UK. For one week we relocate our newsroom to the heart of Birmingham and invite people to tell us what they care about - we will go and report on it. We’re also hiring more reporters out of London, starting in Birmingham. We don’t think the media has listened to people enough, so that’s what we’re doing. Listening to the stories of Birmingham, opening up our newsroom to its people and telling the real story of Britain from the heart of one of its biggest and best cities. You decide the news. We’ll tell your story. Birmingham, be heard. #HuffPostListens