As British citizens, we're a lucky nation. One major benefit to living in these cold wet and windswept isles is that if we do get struck by a stray carved pumpkin in a force 11 storm on a Sunday morning, the trip to the hospital doesn't cost us anything.
Now, admittedly, there are some downsides to this system. Firstly, no one is excluded. This means that a visit to any Casualty department on a Friday or Saturday night will introduce you to the binge drinking culture, as one 15 year old chav after another is laid out in a cubicle, having their stomach pumped. Elsewhere, another bloke is sat there with blood dripping from a fresh cut in his forehead following a fight over someone "lookin' at his missus." But, in main, the NHS is a good thing.
People outside the system look in with scorn. Both BLS and the delightful Tania are an example of this. Following on from my sojourn nearly 5 weeks ago, I have taken to almost daily trips (4 times this week for example) to the local quack's to either see the doc, or the friendly male nurse. This is because the operation hasn't healed correctly, with parts of my belly button now blackened and dead, and other parts making a smell that even my cats find offensive. Both BLS and the delightful Tania say "Well kick up a fuss. They're obviously not looking after you. I'd move doctor if I were you, and make a point to the old doctor that he was incompetent and didn't treat your ailments seriously."
In an ideal world this would be possible, but the truth is rather starker. I can move doctor, but only to another one in the same practice. The whole area is covered by one surgery, incorporating some 15 or so doctors. So moving will mean you get a new doctor who's presumably a friend of the doctor you've just slagged off. Secondly, the doctor's doing his best. I could have stayed in hospital the past 5 weeks, making sure that all pain relief was administered correctly, any infections were combatted quickly and efficiently, and healthcare would have been second to none. The reality is a) this would have cost the NHS a small fortune, something that they just don't have, and b) I would have got MRSA, sleep depravation, aggrophobia and several other ailments from the long stay. So, what's the alternative? I go home, and they hope that the problem sorts itself. If there are complications, I can pop down to see my doctor, and if need be I can be returned to the hospital. Or, I can stay at home, kick up a fuss and demand that things are sorted, write to my MP and the Observer, and basically make their life hell. And then they put me on an 18 month waiting list.
Am I right?
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