On Saturday I had to go to Urgent Care for a 12.30 pm GP appointment at The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow. My toe was going septic. I’d seen a pharmacist and was given the appointment after phoning 111.
Okay, I didn’t get to see the guy until 3pm, but while I was waiting with such a diverse group of others, I could see just how hard everyone was working trying to see and help everybody. The staff were run off their feet.
I could hear young children screaming in pain down the corridor. I saw babies and young infants, looking moribund because they were so poorly in their mothers’ arms, elderly on crutches, young men with injuries to their hands and heads, not drunk, and many others who I’ve no idea what was wrong with them.
We all waited quietly and patiently. Not one person complained.
Every now and again people asked politely where we might be in the queue and how long we might have to wait. A notice warned that we might be waiting for up to four hours. Nurses in reception at Urgent Care, dealing with our queries, were eating grabbed sandwiches for lunch whilst working.
Why am I writing about this? To show what a debt we owe everyone who works in the health service. The NHS is so very precious and we are letting it slip through our hands. The staff are overwhelmed. They are mostly underpaid yet, like the doctor I saw, they are kind and totally caring. I could not thank them enough on Saturday.
The government, however, whom we also pay for does not care and is not kind. Even though we’re told MPs work round the clock, some also still have the time to do other jobs. There is something so fundamentally rotten about our society at the moment.
As I left the hospital, I saw a long queue of ambulances outside A&E. I asked a nurse how to pay for the parking. The system has changed. She had no idea because her parking was automatically deducted from her wages. Surely parking fees should be a legitimate working expense. It is disgraceful that these underpaid, overworked staff are paying for their parking at all. This is not levelling up. This is not just. This is not fair.
To add insult to injury I watched the dishevelled PM’s snap broadcast last night. It sickened me. Yes, I know that Omicron is on the rise and spreading rapidly. Yes, I know that action is needed. However, his bleating on about increasing the speed of the vaccine and booster programme made me angry. On the one hand he praises the ‘wonderful’ NHS and volunteers, yes volunteers, for their work, but he went on to imply that we must all step up or we, and the NHS would be responsible for lack of cancer care. Let’s blame and guilt trip the public and NHS.
Call me a cynic, but I feel the whole charade, incidentally parliament should have been informed first, was an example of passive aggression to distract and deflect from the current hole he is in. It is particularly beyond contempt, in my opinion, because whilst lauding the NHS on the one hand, he expects everybody to step up and work their socks off. Not only have staff not been awarded the pay rise suggested by an independent review, but they will have virtually no holiday/Christmas if they work the way Johnson has asked them to. Meanwhile, with his new baby, he and his ministers will no doubt enjoy their holidays whilst they lecture the rest of us. Hollow, hypocritical words. Johnson only cares about saving his own skin.
The current government and PM are corrupt at a far deeper level than parties and wallpaper. Everything that the ‘people’ have long considered to be British values and rights are being eroded under our noses. The judiciary is being weakened. The right to protest is being made well-nigh impossible. Settled citizens could have their status removed. Refugees are denied access to our shores whilst safe passage is virtually non-existent. Throughout every aspect of our lives the weakest and most vulnerable are being let down, but the Tories party. This is not the Britain that I want to live in.
The NHS is being privatised by the back door. It is not safe in the government’s hands, yet we need them at the point of need, now more than ever.
May I take this opportunity to say thank you to all our health workers and hope that they do have, in spite of everything, a happy Christmas.