Thursday, 15 March 2012

Before the NHS.

Many years ago there was a time when money was scarce and men were going into the army to fight for their country. The threat was great and though many had lost brothers and husbands fighting just 25 years earlier conscription was not really needed. Men joined up to fight and left their families to do the best that they could in the hard times after a serious economic depression.
The women and old people left at home manned the factories, worked the land and kept the flag flying. Food was scarce. The shops were empty, even for those with enough money to go shopping for fun.
Doctors were expensive. Some small insurance schemes existed to enable poor people to get medical help but many struggled to pay doctor's bills and buy medicine even when it was urgently needed.
I was two when war broke out. Mother had war work and my grandparents looked after me.
One day I felt ill. I couldn't go to nursery because I had spots. Granny wanted to get the doctor. Grandad said to wait...childish ailments get better. I did get better. But my friend didn't. She died because the doctor came too late.
When the war was over a new thing happened. Everyone could go to the doctors when they needed brought massive relief to both the old and the poor. I still remember the joy.
I also remember the arguments, the guilt and the shame when someone failed to get the help they needed through lack of money.
That's why we must never lose our NHS. With all it's faults it's still a God send for those with problems.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

  1. I can remember being told about the final illness of my great-grandmother who died before I was born. She, like all my mother's family, came from the East End of London, and had known real poverty. By this time they were a little better off; but the half-a-crown (12.5p) cost of sending for the doctor was still a serious challenge to the family's finances. They did send for him, although he could not prevent her death. Because of stories like this, and your and my own experience, I will never need convincing that a free public health service is necessary. My doubt is that the one we now have is the one that is needed for the 21st century.