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So who do we blame for the collapse of the NHS service which was once the envy of the world? I think the blame can be equally divided between the patient and the provider. You may be surprised to hear of any blame being attached to the patient.


The National Health Service was set up so that no one would have to forego medical care because of their inability to pay. It was a wonderful idea and wonderful service but now, of course, our NHS is certainly not the envy of the world and, unfortunately, we often have to go to other parts of the world, (often to parts where people once envied us) in order to get the treatment we need. Unfortunately, because it was a free service (and rightly so) it has gradually over the years been abused and over used. Not, may I add, over used by patients who really need the service. They are often pushed to one side and doctors' valuable time taken by patients who think they have a fashionable illness of the moment. (I believe doctors had quite a run on possible toenail fungus following the recent intensive advertising campaign on TV). Also, when we visit a doctor we feel that his advice must be backed up with some magical prescription. In fact, some doctors automatically reach for their prescription pad before you have hardly had time to relate your problem. Also it's worth remembering that so many of our ongoing problems are the result of the side effects of well-meaning prescriptions. And, more to the point, do we actually need to see a doctor at all? It's amazing how many young people go to the doctor 'to get something for their bad dose of flu', so that they'll be fit for 'clubbing' at the weekend. In fact, what they don't seem to realise is that if they really had flu they would be in bed and unable to make it to the doctor. What they are really bothering the doctor with is a bad cold which he is unable to do much about anyway, and they have probably passed it on to another patient in the waiting room who, unfortunately, because of age or illness already has a low immunity to viruses.

Looking back to our own childhood, did we ever go to the doctor with a sore throat, etc.? I am sure your memories are similar to mine. The majority of treatment came from within the family circle - gargle for sore throat, damaged limbs were bathed and bandaged, liniment was rubbed into sprained ankles, etc. As a prevention measure, my friends all wore liberty bodices (remember them?) under their winter woollies to protect them from the elements. (Nowadays, of course, the young dispense with woollies in winter and just wear a fashion garment that resembles the liberty bodice and the fashion statement is not complete unless there is an exposed area of flesh below it. Brrr! Brrr!) I was always envious of my friend's liberty bodice as I wasn't allowed one. In fact, I was always made to feel that illness was not merely a sign of body weakness but more a sign of character weakness and that a good dose of fresh air would keep any illness at bay. Our village doctor (or Sir as I was instructed to call him on my one and only visit to his empty surgery) must have had a peaceful country existence. As a small child I really believed that if I saw the doctor's car outside a neighbour's house (I knew it was the doctor visiting because he was the only person who actually owned a car) then that poor neighbour was at death's door.

 


 

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