Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

31 Oct
English: NHS logo

English: NHS logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My last two non-joke posts provoked some interesting comments, to my surprise. The surprise is not that they were interesting (do I not have the best, most intelligent readers in the world?  I do; and I do not want to end up needing the NHS in an urgent manner by accidentally suggesting otherwise).

My surprise came from the idea that the NHS is not necessarily a good thing. The NHS is a more than a good thing: it is a great thing.  But it is not a perfect thing.  It may have appeared that I was criticising the system and not the system practitioners; I wasn’t.  I understand that there is a finite pot of money and tough decisions have to be made.  It’s just easier if the tough decisions affect other people’s husbands.

I’ve paid for medical care (fourteen years in South Africa) and I’ve had it for nothing.  Trust me – free medical care is better.  You still have the two-hour wait in the doctor’s waiting room, but there’ll be some pennies left in your purse at the end of it.

I exaggerate: since my local surgery introduced an electronic reception board, the wait is usually brief.  And the greeting is friendlier.

The NHS may not be a perfect system and it may mean unpleasant people man the phones, but it is disinterested medical care.  Not disinterested in its patients, despite my moaning; but disinterested in its willingness to help as many people as possible, no matter what their financial circumstances.

Our financial circumstances are not great.  The NHS doesn’t mind that.  In the last few months I have had free emergency dental treatment, free doctor visits, a free mammogram and free antibiotics.  

Take a look at this:

This is the Hub’s daily tablet intake.  Fourteen tablets for his various conditions. Tablets are not cheap.  That’s what I’m told – we don’t pay for them.

The concept of free medical care is a foreign one to many of my readers but, believe me, I’m grateful.  We are grateful.  We were grateful when Spud had an emergency appendectomy.  When Tory Boy had his adenoids and tonsils removed.  When the Hub was given every test possible to diagnose his health issues.

Pound for pound, we have the best medical care in the world.  I find it incomprehensible that there is opposition to the idea elsewhere. Without free medical care, I could have died from blood poisoning brought on by oral infections which would have gone untreated because I could not afford to visit a dentist.

The NHS asks nothing of me except a portion of my taxes once I’m in a position to be taxed, and to tolerate the occasional moody receptionist.  I would tolerate a thousand moody receptionists.  It’s a small price to pay.

27 Responses to “Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign”

  1. jmgoyder October 31, 2012 at 16:12 #

    I feel bad that I didn’t know your husband was so sick – sorry!


  2. gertygiggles October 31, 2012 at 16:31 #

    Over in Portugal, if you are registered with the system that is, you have to pay a small fee for your medical care. Recently I paid the princely sum of €12 for blood tests. Also if tablets are prescribed then these are subsidised.If you are unable to pay they also have a method of evaluation and if you fall into that category you are exempt. Perhaps introducing a small fee in the UK would make time wasters think twice about taking up valuable medical time with things like colds and leaving the doctors time to spend treating people like your husband.


    • Tilly Bud - The Laughing Housewife November 1, 2012 at 13:01 #

      Some things are charged for if you can afford it – prescriptions, holiday vaccinations, varicose vein ops, dental treatment for most. But the essential care remains free.


  3. laurieanichols October 31, 2012 at 16:40 #

    Coming from the U.S and having the experience of being sick in France. I know that you appreciate your health care system Tilly. It is a civilized health care system, caring for the common man is a civilized notion. Here in the U.S we have been taken over by a mentality that even health care should be given with an eye towards the profit margin. It is very sad and depressing. Stay clear of all those flu germs Tilly!


    • Tilly Bud - The Laughing Housewife November 1, 2012 at 13:03 #

      You probably know it, but Viv makes an excellent point in the comments.


      • laurieanichols November 1, 2012 at 13:41 #

        She is absolutely right, from the doctor’s point of view I can understand wanting to make a lot of money so that you can repay your 200,000 dollars in student loans. Why are we so limited in our vision when it comes to health care?


  4. vivinfrance October 31, 2012 at 16:59 #

    The problem in the US seems to be that doctors are among the very rich and pharmaceutical profits are sky high, making health insurance unaffordable to a large number of people. Here drug costs are tightly controlled, doctors are not paid a fortune, and hospitals are not run for profit so that health insurance is mostly affordable.


  5. Grannymar October 31, 2012 at 17:10 #

    I agree wholeheartedly with you Tilly.


  6. Rorybore October 31, 2012 at 17:15 #

    Most people, and by that I mean Americans, are so surprised when I say I had 3 babies which includes: pre-natal care, birth – all via C section in my case; 1 pregnancy also included a 5 week hospital stay in the Neo-natal unit due to pre-term labour risk; post care for surgery/stitches, etc;, and also 1 knee surgery. Cost to me? ZERO
    Now most medication you do have to pay for – but since hubby and myself both have full coverage under our employers, that also = ZERO.
    In my humble opinion, you cannot and should not call yourself a “developed” nation if your citizens cannot get basic healthcare due to finances. Don’t doctors take some kind of oath to that affect?


  7. faydanamyjake October 31, 2012 at 18:10 #

    I feel the same Tilly. we are very lucky.


  8. sonofwalt October 31, 2012 at 18:25 #

    Ah, Tilly. Thank you. Going to pass this along. It’s hard to explain why certain Americans are against this, but they’ve been duped into believing that it’s about free-loaders taking advantage of the system. They’ve been duped into believing that it is a matter of personal responsibility, as if taking care of each other is somehow less moral than taking care of ourselves. For decades now I’ve heard politicians talking about national health care here in the US. Finally we have a president who has done something about it. As you said about the NHS, it’s not perfect, but what President Obama has done is finally a good start.


    • faydanamyjake October 31, 2012 at 18:37 #

      This is really why I reacted to the last post. on the eve on the elections in the US its a hot issue and it staggers me ppl can be so selfish/foolish. we all get a time to be needy.


  9. Janet Williams October 31, 2012 at 19:23 #

    10 years ago, my son was diagnosed with tumours aged 13 months. Diagnosis, operations, endless hospital stays, chemotherapy, entertainment (with a play leader), and me staying in the same room with him, doing laundry, emergency visits to hospital, blood transfusion, in isolation ward…… you name it, everything is FREE. Of course we pay tax as good citizens. We are so grateful. We have private health care plan, but we still use the NHS facility, as the NHS has got the best facility and the doctors have different superb skills. Of course there was a lot of waiting. We also had to wait for hours to be seen sometimes. We had our weekends ruined for unnecessary waitings sometimes. The best thing is that the NHS is the system that we trust. We were treated with respect. I was so touched to see the NHS brand appearing on the Olympics opening night.


  10. Elaine - I used to be indecisive October 31, 2012 at 20:01 #

    I think the NHS is excellent. Yes, sometimes waiting lists for some ‘routine’ procedures are long, but when it’s an emergency it is dealt with as promptly as possible. I can’t imagine being in a situation where I or my family couldn’t have the medical or dental care needed because I had to put food on the table first. We are very lucky here in the UK to have the medical system that we have – even though I moan about how long it takes to get an appointment to see my GP!


  11. SchmidleysScribbling October 31, 2012 at 20:23 #

    I think the Germans have the best system, and their economy is in great shape. Bismarck set up the German health care and it lasted all through the 20th century which is amazing.

    National health care is nice if you can afford it. Sometimes, however, the government pokes its nose in where it should not.

    As for the “new” health care system here in the US, I say mend it don’t end it. Of course we need health care for all and preventative care is necessary.

    As a military dependent, I had ‘free’ health care for 22 years, and was much happier when I was no longer a military dependent, had a job that provided health care insurance (which I still carry, and for which I still pay premiums). With my own insurance I can choose my own doctors and don’t have much of a wait anywhere. Meds are covered too, and I take more than the Hub. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. Dianne Dianne


  12. benzeknees October 31, 2012 at 21:43 #

    Being from Canada with public health care, I also value the services they provide – but sometimes you have to get a little pushy with the “disinterested” or “rude” in order to get the service to which you are entitled. Just because it’s “free” doesn’t mean you haven’t paid for it. And everyone is due good service!


  13. sharechair October 31, 2012 at 23:38 #

    I agree SO completely. Here in America we have excellent health care …. but ONLY if you can afford it. I know of many many situations where a person was denied a service or a medication because it was not “covered” under their particular plan. And believe me, you pay a LOT of $$ for ANY plan, even the awful ones. Small business’s go bankrupt trying to pay for health care for their employees. A significant illness that causes one to leave work will often result in a personal bankruptcy. I would LOVE a NHS. I get very very frustrated when debates go on and on about such a thing. In my opinion, a country such as this should be ashamed of itself for not caring for its citizens.


  14. Katharine Trauger November 3, 2012 at 04:47 #

    You obviously have sane people managing your gov health care, who take fare salaries, and no more.


  15. Perfecting Motherhood November 3, 2012 at 07:19 #

    I envy your system, no matter what bad things people can say about it. The US really has a horrible health care system, where you’ll die if you can’t afford care. If you’re super poor, you’re OK because it’s free. If you have a job with health insurance benefits, you’re OK. If you’re like me and self-employed you pay the highest rates ever and you can’t afford them. It really, really sucks.


  16. eof737 November 4, 2012 at 10:17 #

    Sadly, there are elements in this society that thrive on fear-mongering and have sold people on the idea that compassionate affordable care is an archaic/dangerous idea. Sadly, the politicians fighting against it, DON”T need it because they have full expensive paid coverage. They can get sick and not have to sell their homes… It is truly pathetic that in one of the richest nations on earth, this remains a contentious issue.


    • eof737 November 4, 2012 at 10:19 #

      They argue its about choice… NOT! It’s about MONEY!


I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

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