Thursday, 12 February 2015

Life before the NHS

I watched a wonderful clip yesterday of an old man explaining that life before the NHS was grim....I then shared it and can now add some reflections of my own.
I lived with my parents in a two up and two down in Rochdale after the war.
My mother worked in the mill so if me and my brother were ill the first big decision was whever  she could afford the time off piece work to look after us.
Then there followed a period of intense anxiety.
Were we ill enough to send for the doctor?
We got through measles without medical assistance but then my baby brother got rheumatic fever.
There was a prolonged debate during which time his temperature rose in our very chilly house because we only lit the fire during the day if things were desperate. When I got ill too a decision was finally taken...the doctor duly arrived and before looking at us I was aware that he was finding out if she had any insurance.
"Are you in the club?" I can't remember what she replied but the doctor finally entered the house.
At this stage I think my brother was close to death...I wasn't far behind.
The agony of finding enough money for medicine was all too apparent to me then as a child of eight.
Every medical decision was based on how much it would cost and wether we could afford it.
We were a more or less healthy family but going to see a doctor or God forbid having to send for one was a long heart felt debate fuelled by the fear of what might happen if we didn't.
This was the actuality of life before the wonderful National Health Service was created.
Please don't let us go back to this ever again!


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2 comments:

  1. My dad spent all his gratuity after WW11 on my medical bills

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