I have worked in the National Health Service (NHS) all my working life.
I have been a patient of the NHS all my life.
And I'm staring open mouthed at the TV news about some Americans attitude and ignorance to the changes that Barack Obama is trying to instigate.
So just to set the record straight, cause I'm angry at the lack of knowledge, this is what the NHS provides.
From the minute a woman thinks she is pregnant she can go and see her GP- General doctor who usually works out of a health centre. She will be referred to a Midwife that she will see in the same place. And she will be referred to her local Maternity unit under the care of a Consultant for her delivery. ALL THIS IS FREE.
Once the baby is born, the GP,midwife, and health visitor will all visit the mother and baby at home. The GP usually only once, the others as they are needed. ALL THIS IS FREE.
As the child develops, he/she has access to the health centre to see the doctor, for any childhood ailments. And if the child needs specialist care, from a physician to a psychiatrist they will be referred. ALL THIS IS FREE.
Throughout our lives here in the UK we have access to a GP as often as needed, the other people employed in a health centre, will be nurses, both inhouse and district nurses, who visit in people's homes. Counsellors in many surgeries across the country, all though services are sketchy in parts and well served in others. Chiropody, orthodontics, family planning, acupuncture are just some of the services that can be found in a large health centre. The nursing and counselling ARE FREE. The other services may may make a small charge depending on financial circumstances, in that anyone on benefits, WILL NOT PAY.
If a hospital referral is required to any specialist it is FREE. Where there is a charge is in very expensive IVF treatment.
Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy are FREE. Operations are FREE, admission on to the wards is FREE. Food in the hospital if an inpatient is FREE. Drugs on the whole are FREE.
Where the health service struggles, is that some of the new drugs coming on the market are very expensive and it does become a lottery to an extent. The same is true of ever advancing procedures that save lives. There is only a finite amount of money in any country for health care. And if it's your relative that needs that drug of course you will feel that you are not getting good enough care.
So it is a struggle sometimes to justify paying for one thing and not another of course. But we do not turn people away because they do not have the funds to pay.
No-one in the UK goes bankrupt trying to pay for medical care..... See Michel Moores film called Sicko to see what happens to normal Americans when they can no longer pay for their care.
It is not ideal, the UK health service, it is vile hanging round an emergency room on a Saturday night waiting for care. We do not have enough money for some services, or think to give to them. It is a top heavy bureaucracy. The resources required to keep the wards clean are not as good as they could be. But as a service for the population it works even if it creaks sometimes
But the people on the front line, those of us that work in it know that we are doing a valuable job, and we also know that if we need the care we can have it as well and IT WILL BE FREE, for all. Not just those with insurance, or those so poor that they are eligible for medi care. It is that group of middle Americans I feel for, those that look at needing care and because they don't have sufficient insurance don't get treated.
I think if anyone who is currently ranting about what Obama is actually saying would realise that,that is what he wants Americans to have. The right to have enough insurance to have their medical needs met.He is not proposing a health service like ours here.
But for anyone opposed to his policy, I ask you to ask yourself the question, who is going to pay for your treatment if you get ill. I know the answer if I ask it, and it's the NHS, and for that I'm grateful, even with it's faults. And I'm happy to pay my taxes so I can use the service as often as I need it ALL FOR FREE.