Many of us were born in its care, many of us have benefitted from its skills and, sadly, some of us will die in spite of its experience and services.
The NHS has been working hard for the people of the UK since its inception in July 1948. Leaving politics aside, this beast of burden has carried the weight of our nation’s illnesses, births, deaths and surgical procedures unconditionally, and the people who work within it give their heart and soul, on a daily basis, year in and year out. Covid-19 has propelled this institution into the limelight like never before and shown us its true value and worth, not in terms of figures and red tape, but in pure dedication, love and endurance. Everyone who works within the NHS has stepped forward and gone beyond the call of duty, putting their own cares and concerns to one side for the greater good.
Think back to all the times you have needed to attend an Outpatients appointment and resented waiting for so long on an uncomfortable plastic chair. What about going to the doctor for a routine smear test? Or, a mammogram, an X-ray, an unusual rash and you fear your child has meningitis? If you’ve ever visited A&E on a Saturday night and wished you weren’t there . . . , but where else can you go when your daughter stitches through her finger with her sewing machine and the needle is embedded in her nail?
We’ve all been guilty of taking this free service for granted, been impatient at how long it takes to be seen and blamed everything on those in power. But where would we be without it?
I am proud to be a part of the NHS, as a GP, obstetrician and gynecologist. Over the last few months, when the country has been on its knees and we have all been living in fear of something we can’t see, but are told could kill us, the NHS has stood firm, a solid rock, which has saved lives, given solace to those dying and seriously ill and endured unbelievable pressure and demand.
If you do nothing else today, as we begin another week easing ourselves out of lockdown, spare a thought for all those working within every part of the NHS: not just the consultants, registrars, junior doctors, nurses, midwives, anesthetists, but also all the ancillary staff who work so hard to make our times of need easier to bear.