The NHS was the greatest invention in British history. I suppose you could challenge that bold and probably wildly inaccurate statement, but when you are falling to bits, the NHS is the only thing that can put us back together again. The big problem is that sometimes it takes forever.
If you suddenly fall apart, by way of a heart attack, a broken something; anything serious, really, you get treated straight away, depending on how busy A&E is. No one checks your wallet as they check your blood pressure. It’s all free at the point of delivery. How Labour intended it to be. But what if the state deems your treatment not urgent? Then get in the line.
In our house, one of us suffers terrible physical pain from sciatica. She, not me, never goes sick, no matter how much pain she is in. Her reward is to wait forever for scans, assessments, more scans, more assessments followed by our old friend more painkillers. The other one of us, who might be me, struggles with mental health issues. The lockdown hasn’t done my depression a lot of good so the solution is simple: you can go on a waiting list. I’m on two at the moment and I have been waiting for an assessment for ADHD, which I may have had since I was very young, although, like depression, it was only invented in the last few years. I can’t go on the waiting list for that assessment because there are no assessments at the moment. Instead, I am ‘on hold’ until the waiting list is reopened. Very sorry, signed sincerely, etc.
If I completely lose my mind – and as I am not working for the British Red Cross at the moment it’s less likely – I’d stand a chance if I showed up in A&E. It would probably be an emergency case which the powers that be have determined I am not. My partner and I can wait in physical and mental distress respectively until the cow’s come home or the 12th of never when the NHS is actually properly funded.
I received the ‘on hold’ text notice today, which was rather dispiriting since my spirits had been flying a bit higher after being told by various doctors and mental health providers just last week that treatment might not be a mile away. How things change and never for the better.
Christ knows what we’d be like without the NHS, except that when you are struggling with something deemed not to be urgent enough you have a better idea.