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Learning From the UK’s Free Healthcare

I’ve been hospitalised three times, the longest spell was for almost three weeks — when I almost died from blood poisoning. My mother was in and out of hospital having chemotherapy and tests for six years before she eventually died from cancer. When my younger brother was a baby, he suffered from a fit in his cot and was in hospital for a couple of days. I come from a family who has a history of cancer, therefore I have lots of aunts and uncles, who have at some point had to be in hospital for treatment.
Myself, and each and every one of the people I’ve mentioned above have all been treated for free — through the UK’s National Health Service. We were all treated with dignity, as individuals, and were taken care of to a high standard. Therefore the backlash in the States to our free healthcare service is just so wrong.
It’s not a system based on class and money. Whoever you are, whatever you earn, wherever — you live you can guaranteed a certain level of care from doctors or nurses without ever having to put your hand in your pocket. By no means is it perfect. Yes we having waiting lists for certain treatments done, but I can only speak from experience. I’ve never had to wait.

Case in point: Four weeks ago I was building a closet, and dropped part of it on my foot. Three hours later — at 11pm — I ended up in the ER. My foot was swollen and bleeding, and I was semi-high on all the painkillers I’d taken. Within 10 mins a nurse had seen me, and given my crutches. Within two hours I was seen by a doctor, who found my story hilarious then sent me off for an X-Ray. Him laughing and joking made the whole scenario less embarrassing, and helped me forget the pain.

Turns out I’d fractured my toe. So with my foot strapped up, I was able to hobble out of the ER at about 2am with my crutches, painkillers and an appointment for the fracture clinic a week later. And I didn’t have to pay a thing.

Over here, we’ve seen the pictures of people queuing for days to get their free healthcare in Los Angeles — from the mobile clinic that was set up there for a few days (interesting that the man behind that concept — Stan Brock — is English). And it’s shocked us. Hang on, these people have to QUEUE to get some healthcare? WTF? How is that even legal? How can one of the richest nations in the world treat its people like that? I mean, it was like looking at a mobile clinic in a Third World. Which incidentally is where Stan Brock usually runs his mobile clinics.

The oncology unit my mum was treated on was incredible. We were there so often, the nurses became like family.  She was treated so well that we asked for donations instead of flowers at her funeral. I’m sure she would have had just as good treatment if we’d been based in the States. Difference is we didn’t have to pay.

Off course, those who have money pay for private health insurance — that’s their right too. If they want even BETTER care then they pay for it, but that’s how the world works. And it’s totally understandable.

So instead of the Republican bashing on about how free healthcare is “evil” — maybe they should try having little money, and a family member who’s dying from cancer. Healthcare should not be a privilege, it’s a right.

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