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We must treat the NHS with more respect

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There was only one comment on the comments board opposite the nurses’ station and it was terse to say the least. ‘Poor quality coffee’, it muttered in black marker pen. I read it twice to make sure, and thought about how far we had come.

It’s the 60th anniversary of the founding of the NHS this year. Sixty years since healthcare was first provided based on clinical need and not on a person’s ability to pay.

And since the 1940s, treatments have developed, cures have been discovered, people are living longer and people’s expectations of what they are ‘entitled’ to are rising, matched only by the cost of the provision of healthcare.

I nurse the elderly patient with the fractured neck of femur and cross my fingers that I become suddenly wealthy aged 70, because I’m pretty sure that the NHS won’t be around in 44 years’ time to care for me when I suffer a similar injury.

I once read that the NHS was based upon an untruth – the idea that healthcare is financially sustainable. It’s not, and I wonder how much longer we’ll have it.

Reading things like the ‘poor quality coffee’ comment makes me so sad, because I became a nurse in the health service in order to help make people better. Not to sub-contract out my services to the highest bidder and lay on premium quality coffee while I do so. Child of the 1980s I may be but there are some things more important in life than money.

The concept of providing healthcare to people regardless of their ability to pay for it is more than just a nice idea – it’s a good and noble ideal.

But the choice of beverage available is frivolous and irrelevant, and, quite frankly, shouldn’t come into it.

Arabella Sinclair-Penwarden is a staff nurse in Devon

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