English: NHS logo

English: NHS logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So much moaning usually follows those three little letters..

NHS?  waiting lists

NHS? unequal levels of care and treatment

NHS? old hospitals

etc, etc, etc.

I struggle with this, I really do.  I do not have rose tinted glasses when it comes to the NHS.  There are many problems that desperately nee addressing.  The inequalities are unacceptable, and must be remedied.

But we pay our taxes, and as part of the “payback” we expect in the United Kingdom is that we can visit the doctor, or arrive at hospital, and be treated.  There and then, no questions asked.  FREE.  At the point of care.

That means that when I see a doctor, I do so without insurance papers, without cash or a cheque book in hand.

It’s all too easy to take this for granted, but it is absolutely a national treasure, that should be preserved as long as possible.  If things need to change, they must change, but the fundamental right to medical treatment free at the point of care should always be guaranteed.

I experienced something quite different nine years ago.  We were living in France when Little Man was rushed into hospital.  Three hours later we were told he hard a heart defect and probably leukaemia.  It was 11pm, we were naturally shell shocked but the next sentence is one that will always stay with me in its inhumanity.  “You must be here at 7am tomorrow morning for transfer to the paediatric hospital and you must remember your insurance papers.”

My little boy, 11 weeks old, was seriously ill.  His life was quite literally in the balance.  And they wanted me to find insurance papers… coming from England this struck me as a barbaric thing to ask of parents who have just been given this news.


9 years later, almost to the day…

Last night, after a good but tiring day I set about the nightly business of preparing Little Man’s feed.  He is pump fed through the night because he cannot tolerate enough food during the day.  If we try to feed him even 50mls more a day, he vomits.  The night feed represents about 60% of his daily caloric intake, so it’s a pretty important part of his care.

I followed my usual routine, turned on the pump and prepared to go to bed and blissful sleep!!!


At this point in time, it may be helpful to go read an earlier post, that will take you on my love hate journey with this sound.

Tom has the use of a Nutricia Infinity Pump which has a wonderful array of different error messages, most of which are easily resolved.  Last night was a new one: ER12.  Not good.  After a quick peruse of the manual, I see that the only solution is to phone the company that supplies the pump and plastics.  Luckily, fortunately, thanks to our really rather wonderful NHS, they also provide a 24 hour phone line.

After a short conversation, it was established that a new pump was essential, and that a fast delivery was very important.  I was fully expecting to wait at least until today, and was readying myself for a night of bolus feeds every few hours (these are feeds done by hand using a syringe… not fun in the middle of the night).

I called them at 9.22pm.

The new pump arrived at 11.45pm.

Tom got all of his night feed, more or less as normal.  I got a night’s sleep.

The NHS is a massive organisation, and it is far from perfect.  But I have yet to learn of a healthcare system that provides this kind of care based solely on taxpayers’ contributions.

‘Nuff said!!  Don’t knock our NHS!