The NHS… 60 years old

The NHS celebrates 60 years today – for all its faults I still think it is a great service that we have in the UK.  Many will say the ‘free’ NHS but it isn’t really due to paying National Insurance but the amount I pay in doesn’t amount to the money spent on the past 35 years of my life – from breaking my elbow, blood pressure checks, blood tests and the odd mole cut out (I have such a lovely scar from that).  On the news this morning they reckon the average costs per person is half a million pounds. I’m sure I won’t pay that in National Insurance in my lifetime at work.  I’m not that clued up on other countries and health services but everyone always compares the NHS to the US health system.  My own thoughts or is that opinion, is that all medical appointments/procedures etc are paid for through insurance and that the insurance can be really expensive. I should really find this out from my friends in the US but its not the sort of thing I think of when chatting.  This article that I found on the BBC website about the comparisons of US and UK health services is really interesting.

The NHS is also the world’s biggest employer – with over one million staff.  Back in 1996 I started working for the NHS in the chiropody department – I have some wonderful foot stories of ulcers and toenail removal but I’ll save them for another time!  I have seen first hand the paperwork and bureaucracy that comes with working for a government institution.  I have seen people moaning, shouting, swearing at staff because they can’t get their feet seen today (because they are going on holiday next week), generally being horrible.  I have also seen the other side of really helpful, dedicated staff that love their jobs and try their best with massive waiting lists.  I had a great two years there but I don’t think I could have survived on a NHS wage for the whole of my working life.  Is private healthcare the way to go – I’m not convinced it is but something needs to be done for the staff and making our hospitals much nicer places to visit.

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