You are 70 years old today, so I thought I’d write you this ‘Thank You’ letter for having made it this far and for saving so many lives each day – mine included.
Thank you for being there those months ago, when I had that scare which made life flash before my eyes as I lay in hospital staring at my blood vessels on a screen, like a dream one couldn’t make up, while thinking about my wife and children at the same time – wondering what will be of them if this was it! Thank you for those angels of all shades dressed in white, blue or green who were so reassuring, kind and accommodating.
Thank you for the absolutely brilliant people who, at the sight of a truly life threatening emergency, step in to help and fix what they can fix with the best that they have. In recent times, your presence and help has made that difference in my family’s life and those of dear loved ones suffering with terminal conditions. You are not a miracle worker, but damn it – you sure come close to it each day. Heck, it is a miracle that you’re still here.
Miracle because I often wonder how you could sustain and keep taking the constant ‘talking down’ you put up with from day to day. It’s a miracle that you keep saving more lives per pound of money spent than probably any other healthcare system in the world. You employ more people than the country does teachers, police and army officers combined. It’s a miracle that, as one of the five largest employers of labour on planet earth, more human errors aren’t occurring, though such is one too many.
It is a miracle that despite the warnings of your death by some, decades later, you’re still here, keeping millions alive.
Your resilience amazes me as much as your attempts to do everything amuses me. I just don’t think you can keep this up. You really are one of a kind and yet, you get knocked from pillar to post by both politicians and pundits. Nevertheless, you bear no grudges and should any of these turn up at your doorstep, you will be there regardless.
During my teens, twenties and pretty much all of my thirties, I rarely recall having need of you. I played sports, never broke a bone, lived life and once was informed by my GP that unless I showed up to surgery sometime soon, I will be struck off their list of patients. Now they only know me too well.
In so doing, I’ve come to see for myself, the dedication and devotion of those who make you what you are. I’ve come to see how much they actually would appreciate being made less of a political punching bag. I’ve come to see how much they just want to get on with their job of helping people and not having to deal with those implacably impertinent individuals who expect a first class treatment while treating you like a second class servant. And still, you serve nearly 1.5 million people each day and about 23 million go through A&E in a single year.
Dear NHS, this letter is in honour of your resilience, devotion and longevity.
I suspect you will change in the coming years as you have done somewhat in years past. This will be inevitable I dare say, as the likes of me live longer – thanks to you and technology, but come what may, I hope your next seventy years of saving lives work out just as well, if not better than the last seventy.
Dear NHS, thank you and Happy Birthday.