In a piece for Left Foot Forward, Mark Serwotka plays the “I’m on the waiting list for a heart transplant” card to heap even more uncritical praise on the NHS:
This is something I honestly think Jeremy Hunt and the Tories will never fully grasp, or don’t want to. They don’t have a genuine sense of how the whole NHS is run. Or our other public services, for that matter. They see them as bureaucracies, first to be vilified, the better then to be cut down to size.
I don’t know how long I’m going to be in here before my transplant, but my stay so far really has hardened my resolve to ensuring we defend our NHS with everything we’ve got.
That means defending the services from budget cuts and privatisation. And it means defending the health workers who have been treated appallingly, with their pay and pensions slashed, their contracts ripped up and even hints now that foreign doctors won’t be welcome in the UK in the future.
This last point makes me particularly angry because from day one, when I first started having problems in 2010, I’ve been looked after by fantastic and dedicated doctors and other professionals from all over the world.
We really can’t say it often or loud enough — our NHS is very special. The greatest achievement of a time of political optimism, when national pride meant public investment. Our health service is the envy of the world, and we can’t afford to let the Tories grind it down.
Really, we can’t say it often or loud enough? It certainly seems as though uncritically praising the NHS from dawn to dusk is all that some of us ever do, whether we are childishly painting the NHS logo on our faces, propelling a mediocre song to #1 in the Christmas charts or flaunting our virtuous NHS-love on social media.
The envy of the world? Tell that to the thousands of people whose cancer wasn’t spotted until it was too late or who could not benefit from the latest treatments, the people who died of hospital superbugs or the families of those left to starve in dysfunctional hospital wards run by psychopaths.
Mark Serwotka’s hymn of praise to the NHS mirrors every other piece of leftist propaganda designed to aid the NHS Industrial Complex. The template goes something like this:
- Talk about current or past grave illness to elicit sympathy
- Praise the “amazing care” received, as though heart transplants or chemotherapy are uniquely British
- Wax lyrical about how the unending bureaucracy of state healthcare and the fact that the NHS is the world’s fifth largest employer is actually a good thing, somehow
- Historical amnesia, where every other significant or inspiring British contribution to the world is forgotten or diminished while government-run hospitals are put on a pedestal and worshipped
- Attack the Evil Tor-ees for being insufficiently devout in their observance of Britain’s new national religion
One certainly wishes Mark Serwotka the very best, that a suitable new donor is available soon and that his upcoming transplant is a success. But as a people, we really need to stop being so gullible and open to emotional manipulation that we allow ourselves to be swept along by these “but the NHS set my broken arm / cured my case of Ebola / saved my premature baby” testimonials.
No, the NHS did not save your life. Doctors, nurses and modern technology saved your life. And guess what? In other countries, the systems that they wrap around those doctors, nurses and technologies often deliver better healthcare outcomes for their people than Our Blessed NHS (genuflect) is able to produce.
But what really damns Mark Serwotka and his NHS-loving amen chorus is the fact that they will not even allow the British people to look at the benefits of other healthcare delivery models. The NHS Industrial Complex has the British Left (and whole swathes of the Right) so wrapped around its fat little finger that to even question whether the NHS model should remain the One True Faith of these islands is to invite potential excommunication from political life.
And all it takes to perpetuate this nauseating Divine Office of praise for the National Health Service is for occasional feel-good stories like this one to make us wipe away a tear, lean back with a smile and know that we benefit from the Best Healthcare System In The World. So good, in fact, that it is replicated by jealous rivals in precisely zero other countries.
A reading from the book of St. Mark Serwotka.
Thanks be to Bevan.
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