Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good Health

Our health system comes in for a lot of stick, some warranted, some unfair. Over the last few years I have had considerable first-hand experience with it. I had a pacemaker fitted in 2004 and on 24 April 2006 I was rushed to hospital in an ambulance. Eventually, two problems were diagnosed. One was a form of sleep apnea whereby I stopped breathing which resulted in a shortage of oxygen. The other was a rare muscular degenerative disease. The two are probably related but not necessarily so. Treatment for both is facilitative rather than rehabilitative.

The dedication, commitment and cheerfulness of the people involved has been impressive; especially the hospital nurses and even more so the district health nurses. There is talk of privatising the latter service. I hope not. Change just for ideological reasons or even worse for cost-cutting will disrupt a good thing that’s working well.

The specialists have been clear in explaining my problems, procedures to be followed and likely consequences. Other professionals have supplied resources and arranged support and care. My needs have been recognised and met. There have been frustrations over delays but unfortunately that is part and parcel of the human condition.

I admit to one moment when I had a flash of anger. The day I had a muscle biopsy; as I was being logged in for the operation I was jauntily told to think of the experience as a journey. New age balderdash. It was surgery, not a venture into darkest Africa.

I am well aware that the tax-payer foots much of the health bill. I just hope that the government in its zeal to reduce the impact of the recession does not leap to the conclusion that the critics of our health system have it right. As in education there is always room for improvement. But as with education there is great wealth in the people involved in the sector. Let’s appreciate and build from that.

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