|Edinburgh Royal Infirmary|
Today is the birthday of the NHS in Britain. I feel great pride when I think about the difference it has made to so many. It was a visionary decision in a time of great austerity. Times were truly tough for most. And ill health is a leveler. Fame and fortune does not save us from ill health-the recent sad death from breast cancer of Bernie Nolan reminds us of that. But to be freed from the worry of the cost of treatment at the time of need was and is ground-breaking and unique.
Of course economic hardship can remain due to social factors like work and housing but its not because our treatment has bankrupted us. Or that we have had to choose between cost or survival, cost or long term pain and disability, cost or return to health, cost or a healthy baby. We are right to celebrate it.....and fight to retain it if we think that's at stake in some places.
Sixty five years! Now there is no mention of it being pensioned off in Scotland, that may look different across the UK but I'm glad to say not here. But neither is there a suggestion that it can slip on the "baffies" and put its feet up. The country has changed, one third of girls born today will live to be 100, we live longer with more and more long term conditions, most of our care will not be in hospitals-we will self manage, we will require support at home. We need new approaches, new wisdom's for tackling fresh challenges. But look at what has been achieved that others can only marvel at. With the right mindset, commitment and vision we can make these maturing years the next generation’s legacy.
When I was on holiday recently I finally got around to watching "The Bucket List". I had always been reluctant about watching what I thought to be a ‘weepy’. But it's a great film, made great by its fine actors and powerful message because of course it's about living not dying. It's about having dreams and being brave enough to go for them. It's about having no regrets and tackling the hard stuff too. It's about love.
It made me think about not only my own health scares and their impact on my life but also the challenges for so many in healthcare. So I thought I would articulate my wish list that's about living-absolutely not dying-and the future of the NHS. There are policy documents aplenty lining shelves across the land setting out future policy so I don't intend to re write any of those...what I'm picking out are some of my favourites! Please join in and share yours too, wherever you are.
My wish list for the NHS
» A person centred service where "what matters to you" is what matters to the service.
» Investing in relationships, with social care, with third sector so that people feel supported wherever they are.
» A top quality service with our collective commitment to invest in it and willingness to embrace the future to make it happen,
» Showing respect and care for all involved;the teams providing services as well as patients and carers.
» Equality that’s evident in all caring and working relationships, true partnerships of equals.
» And of course-love and compassion for all-too much to hope for? I don't think so.
Reasons to be heartful
Celebrating sixty five years of "A vast amount of silent good work......to meet a vast amount of silent suffering" in Nye Bevans own words is something to be hugely proud of. Here's to embracing the next 65 and more with equal vision and compassion.