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I come from a family where a trip to the doctors is the last resort; we literally only go when Google and the passage have failed to heal us and whatever it is that is ailing us shows no sign of relenting. As a result, I can count on one hand the number of trips I’ve made to my GP in the last 5 years: 4. Two of these were vaccinations, one was for a really bad experience with the flu and the final one was last Thursday, a trip that ended with me limping out of Minor Injuries with crutches and a broken metatarsal bone.
When I called my mother that morning to inform her of my injury and my GP’s insistence that I get x-rayed, her only concern was whether I had enough money on me for a cab to the hospital. She didn’t have to worry about whether or not it was covered by our insurance or whether I had the relevant documents on me. She didn’t have to worry about these things because we live in a country where the majority of health services are provided by the government and paid for by taxation.
Many people are angry with the NHS. The biggest complaint at the moment are the waiting times with reports of handovers taking 30 minutes (it’s meant to be 15 minutes max) and trolley waits of over four hours. Whilst these are valid complaints, I think we should take a moment to remember that this is the price we pay to have a national health service. Time is the price we pay so we can always have access to medical assistance regardless of our socioeconomic status or the severity of our health problem.
So when you accidentally break a leg or burn your arm whilst going about your day, remember to be grateful that the NHS is there. It is not perfect but at least people aren’t dying because they can’t afford to pay.