I shall never get on a horse again. This is because my wife fell off one and broke her pelvis and as mine is getting on a bit, it would be foolhardy to risk bumping it about.
We can’t afford our own horse, so we’ve been mucking one out for a friend in return for rides.
Maybe the nag didn’t like my greeting of, “Hiya... I’m so hungry I could eat a...” which is not so funny when you are one. And pulverising Claire’s pelvis was revenge.
A&E was rammed and we hunkered down for a long wait. But Claire was wheeled straight in to a doctor, on to X-Ray and back to our cubicle, high as a kite on smack.
So far, so good. The young doc seemed a tad too cheery but he later explained that was because he feared her hip was crocked, which is much more serious.
Then the shift changed and everything went bits-up.
Hours went by and my stoned wife needed a pee. “The loo is round the corner,” I was told. “I know. But she can’t walk.”
More hours elapsed and someone poked their head in. “You still here?” “Evidently. Seeing as she can’t walk out.”
Which sums up today’s NHS. The staff are wonderful but the system has turned to mush.
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Successive governments have buried their heads in the sand because they didn’t want to frighten the... er... horses – i.e. voters.
The NHS is maybe our greatest post-war achievement but we should stop being sentimental about it.
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting says it must “reform or die”, that “it’s a service not a shrine.”
Those are words politicians were afraid to use until now.
As the NHS celebrates its 75th birthday, we must accept a model designed in 1948 doesn’t work for 2023. Polio and TB have gone to be replaced by an ageing population and costly advances in medical science.
Taxpayers could buy Greece for the money we spend on the NHS.
Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid told LBC last week: “The current state of affairs is completely unsustainable.”
Might have helped, Saj, if you’d said that when you had the job.
He wants to see a contributory insurance scheme like those which give Germany 7.8 hospital beds for every 1,000 people and France 5.7, compared with our 2.4. But a Sunday People Redfield & Wilton poll today shows fewer than one in three voters would back that.
We cling to the mantra of universal free healthcare. Yet the NHS was only totally free for its first three years, so that principle was abandoned long ago.
Nine in 10 people qualify for free prescriptions and they should never be charged a bean for anything.
But would it really hurt the likes of Nadhim Zahawi to cough up a tenner to see a GP?
After his mauling last week, he’ll need that blood pressure check.