Yesterday my country voted for the next Government. It was my first General Election as a parent which gave it added importance and also made me very nervous.
The key issue for me was the NHS. I’ve been lucky enough to never need an operation but as I’ve written about on this blog one of my newborn sons did on the first full day of his life.
The health care we received was phenomenal from start to finish. From our very first scan, to our regular scans at the Women’s Hospital, the staff were professional, compassionate and supportive.
We went there fortnightly and met peadiatricians, doctors, midwives and specialists who put our minds at rest when things weren’t as we’d hoped and helped us plan the best way to ensure our lads would come out healthy at the other end.
The midwives who steered my wife through a 28 hour labour and then emergency c-section were real life guardian angels (the helpful type, not the biker gang) and we’ll forever be in debt to the team at Alder Hey that turned a life-threatening problem on my son into a one inch scar. The box of chocolates that we’ll drop off for them to offer our thanks seems like a piss-take in comparison.
But after all of this – the first class care, the wonderful staff and support – you know what the best thing about it all was?
It was free.
No insurance policy needed. No medical bills. No life-changing financial debt afterwards. I’m not a nationalist by any stretch but the NHS makes me proud to be British.
I feel sad today because the returning government doesn’t hold the NHS in the same way as I do. They will strip it away, slowly and covertly. There’ll be no strikes as there was for the mines, no riots as with the Poll Tax. We’ll barely notice it’s gone because it’ll just fade away silently.
Whatever your personal political leaning is, we’re all going to need the NHS at some point in our lives. If you’re lucky, it’ll only be right at the end. If you’re really lucky, it’ll still be around to help you.
Save the NHS.