Have you ever felt coerced into expressing gratitude for a conditional health service that is arguably not fit for purpose? Are you ever made to feel ashamed if you dare question the National Health Service (NHS)? I certainly feel that I am being told to stop questioning the state of the NHS and to be grateful for the ‘angel of our islands’. I thought I would spend a bit of time researching as to why I, and perhaps others, are feeling this way.
Nearly twenty years ago, in 2004, the British Medical Association published a paternalistic article entitled Why Britons should be grateful for the NHS. Reading it in 2023, I feel the need to challenge some of the findings. Perhaps you will too.
In modern international history, when a national health system breaks down, health providers will initiate a fee-based service to replace it with. This in turn leads to vast swathes of the population not being able to access, nor afford, healthcare. When that happens, most don’t even try to seek help and will go untreated. The real disease is the disgrace of being denied care when in need.
Here in the United Kingdom, we have the National Health Service, a service that is deemed to be free at the point of contact—a point I may challenge at another time—but nevertheless one where no-one should be turned away. In 2023, we are hearing of patients who are being turned away if they are deemed not to fit the criteria or conditions the NHS have put into place. Others are deciding they no longer have access to a healthcare system they trust, so actively avoid it at all costs.
In the UK, your financial status and citizenship is irrelevant, as all individuals who can pass for habitual residents will still receive the same level of care within the NHS for ‘free’—no questions asked. Aren’t we Brits lucky, incredibly fortunate, to have a unique ‘state-of-the-art healthcare system’ with some of the finest experts in the world (banish those doubts)? How fortunate that the good old NHS is there to help us when we most need. With the touch of three numbers on a phone, 999, the finest help in the world arrives. Or does it? Not so, it seems, in 2023. If the NHS is such a fantastically efficient, safe and advanced model, why hasn’t any other country adopted it?
Being made to feel ‘grateful’ for the NHS is something I can remember back in my childhood days. My family always used to tell me repeatedly how lucky we were in the UK to have such an incredible system. No-one got turned away from the doors of the NHS, everyone was welcome 24/7. Family doctors were exactly that: one doctor for a whole family, who knew and trusted him and vice versa. Family doctors who would turn up at your bedside at 3 am with their medical bag and stethoscope.
Family doctors would visit patients in hospital prior to their discharge back into primary care. Many youngsters wouldn’t believe me, but it was only forty years ago that that was the norm. It’s hard to believe, given what we are seeing now. The NHS is regarded as a national treasure, so criticise its angels and rainbows at your peril.
This unique service is a conditional ‘statutory gift’ from the UK Government; a gift that perhaps some of us wish we could politely refuse. I wish I could, looking back. I feel as though I have often been coerced into feeling grateful to others who may not have my best interests at heart.
Given the state of the NHS today, I doubt that many who are reading this will have reason to feel grateful; perhaps many will be feeling sad, angry, let down, upset or even abandoned. It has become very apparent to me in numerous conversations with those who have been injured by the Covid–19 injections that many of my countrymen have felt intimidated and threatened when discussing the cause of their symptoms with NHS staff. When the patient has questioned or suggested that their condition may have been exacerbated or caused by a Covid–19 injection, they were often ignored or ridiculed by medical professionals.
It is not only the vaccine-injured who are being chastised during consultations. I have witnessed with my very own eyes the ways in which senior consultants are almost spoiling for an argument with their patients. Hostile appointments, in my opinion, are toxic. Trust between doctor and patient is as vital as air is to breathe. Without full trust and cooperation, the appointment becomes futile, unhelpful and could potentially be dangerous. What a patient perceives to be hostile attitude would appear to be described as ‘difficult conversations’ by some hospital consultants.
There is no choice in the UK. As soon as a birth is registered, the baby is opted in to a national health system for their entire life with no choice to opt out. Despite many of the British hailing the NHS as the ‘finest in the world’, I believe that this is wishful thinking.
In the past, the NHS has, without a doubt, carried out some excellent work. Without its highly trained and quick-thinking doctors, my youngest son, who was critically ill as a newborn, would not be here now. As a trained nurse, I have seen with my own eyes the kindness and professionalism within the NHS, but that was decades ago. We live in very different times now. Ranking alongside its counterparts in the Czech Republic and Slovenia, the NHS may not be too proud to be level pegging with health services that had to emerge from Communism.
My granny used to say, “There’s no such thing in life as a free lunch”. There will always be a condition or a price to pay down the line, she used to warn. “Buy cheap, buy twice” was another of her sayings. The NHS is not free, yet we are brainwashed into thinking it is.
What are the benefits and disadvantages as I see them with the NHS? Considering the NHS is a very different place today than it was forty years ago, I will try to be generous, but are we paying a high price for an inadequate, outdated system.
‘Unconditional’ healthcare, no one turned away or refused 24/7
No money required up front; free at the point of contact
Access to tests, treatment and advice as advised
Reassurance and knowledge that help is at hand should it be required
Highly specialised experts with long, specialised training (subjective at the point of writing)
24/7 emergency care
No option to opt out (even if you only access private health care, you will still be registered with the NHS)
No guarantee when treatment will be offered or who it will be provided by
No apparent right to challenge or refuse
No guarantee of safety
No guarantee of level of care
Long waits, less choice
Risk of being isolated
Because the NHS is regarded by many service users as ‘free’ at the first point of contact, we are taught from an early age to be grateful and appreciative. “You don’t know how lucky you are in the UK,” my overseas friends used to say as they told me of the very high insurance premiums that they have to pay every month. Are we lucky? I am not going to lie: the premium in the USA, for instance, is a high one and I am glad I don’t have to raise nearly $1,000 per month for healthcare that I may or may not need. However, my friend there has a choice in health provider and an ability, a de-facto right, to question and challenge diagnoses and treatments offered without fear of being branded a ‘troublemaker’ or a ‘hostile patient’. She has the right to a second independent opinion.
As many continue to avail themselves of GPs and hospital appointments, many of us are feeling intimidated from the get-go. Even recorded answerphone messages telling us to be kind to staff (these are cleverly disguised covert threats), and that anyone perceived as rude, abrupt or demanding will automatically be deemed abusive and will be reported, is enough to get most folk ruffled and irritated from the onset. Reported to whom, and for what? Are the ‘thought police’ or ‘NHS police’ stationed at every surgery?
Are medical staff so sensitive that they deem a scared, nervous or frustrated patient as aggressive? Since when has it been appropriate or necessary to threaten, frighten and upset sick patients: patients who are merely doing as they are told, consulting them for advice, help and support in their time of need?
Many times, it seems that patients are no more than an interruption to the days of medical professionals, who appear to be busier than ever yet out of sight to many in need of care. One UK Column viewer told a nurse that he thought his mother had just died in her hospital bed, only to be told, ‘Find someone else. Can’t you see I’m busy?’ Have their kitchens become their consultation rooms? Are they working from home? One thing seems clear: the staffing seems to be significantly reduced.
It appears to me, from both my own personal experience and from media reports, that many working within the NHS are suffering from mental health issues themselves. Most are struggling. The priority in the NHS appears to be the staff, not the patients. How many of the experts we are consulting are not well enough to be practising, let alone advising and treating us?
UK Column has received many e-mails from those who are exhausted from trying to navigate their way through what used to be a simple phone call to their family doctor. Here is a list of the most common complaints we are hearing:
Not being able to get hold of anyone to pick up the phone. Many reporting hanging on phones for up to an hour, still never getting through.
Being asked many questions about Covid–19 before being allowed to give their reason for contact.
Not being able to make a face-to-face appointment with their regular doctor.
Being told to access services via the NHS App or EConsult.
Professionals not taking no for an answer, continuing to request/coerce patients to attend vaccination clinics.
Insistence still on patients wearing masks and continuing to maintain distance in some GP surgeries and local hospitals.
Data-sharing. Many, despite opting out of data-sharing, are receiving requests to attend appointments they don’t feel they need.
Being offered telephone appointments only.
Being asked to speak to professionals who are unfamiliar to them.
Being asked to send images of affected body part via e-mail to the surgery, with no guarantee of privacy.
Being informed their own doctor is either on holiday, on sabbatical, off sick or on another mission such as supervising vaccinations. Some have even been disingenuously told that their GP has left or retired.
The NHS appears to be semi-available for those who are prepared to toe the line and to do as they are told. The NHS does not allow anyone to critic, complain or challenge—the immense legal machine within the main body of the NHS springs to life at the first mention of complaint so that patients don’t stand a chance of receiving either justice or answers.
Are we (the patient, the consumer, the public) expected gratuitously to give our own ‘unconditional gift’ back to the NHS in the form of our personal data, in order for it to most likely be sold to non-government organisations, research facilities, pharmaceutical companies, biotech industries and even other countries? I didn’t agree to that; in fact, I vehemently oppose it. But it is very difficult to untangle ourselves and our medical records in their entirety from the NHS. If it is possible, and if anyone out there knows a way, please direct me to the ‘cloud’ my data is being stored on, so that I may extract it and free myself.
We appear to have become a nation dependent on a health service to fulfil all our needs. Are we the victims of our own success, or have we been bulldozed into being made to feel that only a doctor can tell us if we are alright? With what seems to be a nation full of the ‘worried well’, otherwise known in lay language as ‘paranoid hypochondriacs’, it seems we have lost our way and lost the ability to monitor our own bodies.
Was the NHS ever there to help us, or has it been the biggest data-collecting machine known to mankind? With the largest health database in the world, one could argue that the NHS was created not for us, but for our nation, and those in control—at our cost, and at our risk.
Could Social Health Insurance (SHI) work in the UK as it seems to in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Israel? Thanks to means-tested subsidies, there is no such thing as an uninsured population; everyone receives cover. It appears that SHI performs just as well in all areas that the NHS covers, so could it serve us better in the UK. Deliberately, we don’t appear to be told that this option could be available. I see no signs of an SHI alternative, but what I do see is the appearance of US private service providers sneaking into our healthcare system almost by stealth.
Please do remember that the USA is the only country, as far as I am aware, that operates a health service conditional on the condition of adequate insurance. No insurance, no care, other than that offered by voluntary agencies or charity. It may be worth remembering that the NHS is hand-in-glove with the private US company called Palantir that handles our data. But what they do with it, no one really seems to know or care.
Has the NHS been built to make its users reliant, grateful and dependent on it, the plan all along to eventually give the UK Government a valuable commodity with which to fill their coffers at our expense? My final question is: Are we being made to appreciate, honour and respect a system which appears to have been designed for nefarious purposes? You decide.
After perhaps a thought-provoking and slightly serious start, I would like to focus on some of the news that really just defies belief.
New study finds immunity acquired from Covid infection is as protective as vaccination against severe illness and death
Yes, you read that right; and it is what we knew from the start. What is more surprising is that a mainstream news channel is even covering it. NBC News ran with this story, reporting on a new study by The Lancet which found that immunity acquired from infection would be as high at worst, and higher at best, than two doses of the mRNA injection that governments were so insistent we needed to keep us safe.
The study’s Declaration of Interests states:
DMP reports support from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation as grant payments made to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. All other authors declare no competing interests.
The study ends:
Our analysis suggests that the level of protection from past infection by variant and over time is at least equivalent if not greater than that provided by two-dose mRNA vaccines.
So if Bill Gates knows this, why is he promoting, funding and insisting for the world to get vaccinated when clearly there is no need?
Professor Whitty, lung cancer and children’s mental health
UK Column has reported for many months on the NHS Long Term Plan. I wrote an article on this topic, dissecting it into bite-sized bullet points of what we are to expect, moving forward. Dozens of my predictions in that article have already come true.
A high-priority area that the NHS Long Term Plan will focus on is lung cancer and the effects of smoking. Recently, England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has been doing the rounds again. It may seem an age since we became used to seeing him on our TV screens at the height of the pandemic. Usually looking jaded, anaemic and washed-out in appearance and as full of enthusiasm as a deflated balloon, he only really seemed to show emotion when successfully frightening the population into isolation with over-the-top fearmongering about a bogus ‘virus’, which clearly never required a vaccine.
Rest assured, however, Professor Whitty is still a very busy man, and he now has his sights set on lung cancer victims. At the most recent Parliamentary Health Select Committee, he has been focusing on ‘preventative medicine’ and how he can save the NHS almost single handed. Cervical Cancer can, according to Professor Whitty, be almost eliminated through screening and vaccination. Lung cancer is next on the priority list. Whitty remarks that lung cancer is number one killer of all cancers, which are, according to him, 79% preventable, with the largest share of cases caused by smoking.
In fact, he makes the bold statement that if smoking disappeared, so would the majority of worst cancers. Gone in a puff of smoke, quite literally. The other area of Whitty’s concern is heart disease. Apparently, that is largely caused by smoking too; no mention of an mRNA vaccine being a cause—surprise, surprise.
Cancer Research UK is a charity synonymous with lung cancer work. It enjoys funding from big pharmaceutical companies, such as in clinical trials supported by Pfizer—“A study to learn more about lung cancer in people who smoke”. Drug companies fund a large amount of cancer research in the UK, as stated on the Cancer Research website.
Readers may be interested to know that Professor Robert West, husband of Professor Susan Michie (Head of Behavioural Science), is funded by Pfizer and also advises Cancer Research UK on his area of expertise, which is smoking. It is not just the tobacco companies who have healthy bank accounts. For smokers, the news is not good. Prices are about to go up again, with most 50-gramme packets of tobacco hitting nearly £30.
Your weekly supermarket trip is very likely to include some lung cancer prevention. How about an eleven-foot set of lungs on your high street, or a breath scanner outside Tesco? Think I am joking? I wish I wasn’t. Air pollution is high on the agenda.
Children’s mental health appears to have become an area of expertise for Professor Whitty, as he hones in on the likelihood of a rise in mental health conditions across the board. These will exacerbate physical illness’ such as heart disease. Mental health is seen as a ‘disease burden’ on society.
However, this term is subjective, and I interpret the noun ‘burden’ in a financial sense: the cost of mental health within the NHS is no longer sustainable. Enter the world of the wellbeing app: chatting to a counsellor will be replaced by a chatbot.
Doctors warn virtual ward plan will ‘put patient safety at risk’
UK Column News has been warning of the rolling out of a new model within the NHS for over a year: remote virtual wards and ‘Hospital At Home’ will create over 10,000 more beds within primary care. In reality, these beds are your beds, in your bedrooms. Kieran Sharrock, acting Chair of the British Medical Association’s England GP committee, has told Pulse that putting even more strain on primary care will only decrease the pressure in our hospitals, leaving primary care to face the demand for care.
Moving the problem from one area to another area, which are already suffering huge losses in budgets, services and staff, will only serve to compound the problem further.
As GPs are expected to work longer hours in order to increase their face-to-face appointments, how will they be able to cope with supporting ‘virtual wards’ within their own communities? Increasing pressures on GPs will reduce appointment availability within surgeries and put patient safety at risk.
AI will monitor NHS missed appointments
Eight million missed hospital appointments are estimated to cost the NHS £1.2 billion a year. The reasons for non-attendance will be predicted and mapped, using external influences such as traffic delays or weather. Deep Medical, new AI software designed by a ‘frontline’ worker and NHS clinical fellow, is being piloted this year in the NHS. Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust will be the first area to use it.
Appointments will be made at more convenient times for patients, offering them weekend and evening slots. Using algorithms and anonymised data (where have we heard that before?), backup bookings will also enable no appointment is wasted and no clinical time is lost.
MHRA: Sudafed, Benylin, Night Nurse, Day Nurse and Nurofen at risk of being withdrawn from over-the-counter sales
It seems the MHRA is “spooked”, according to the Express. Two rare brain conditions, posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) and reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), have been linked by regulatory decision to pseudoephedrine-containing medicines.
It is worth noting that most common cold remedies include pseudoephedrine, which is a decongestant. Those over-the-counter medications could become prescription-only. We will be keeping a watch on this story as the over-the-counter medicines we have all become so used to start to vanish right before our eyes.
Hay fever medicines in short supply in Dublin
It appears that hay fever medications and sprays may be in short supply. The Medicines Shortages Index has reported that Irish patients may find themselves struggling to access 247 medicines. Thirteen of these are on the World Health Organisation’s critical list. Any medications requiring plastic casing, such as asthma preparations, are also in short supply.
And now for some international news:
Ohio train derailment: aftermath
As the residents of East Palestine continue to question the narrative and express their grave concerns over serious health risks, the preliminary safety report has been released. Amid reassurances that the contamination has been contained, residents refuse to believe it is safe. Many fish continue to die. Many who are trying to move away from the area are now finding their properties unsaleable. As President Joe Biden prefers to use his time to visit Ukraine, the residents of Ohio feel abandoned.
Mississippi sees ninefold rise in number of infants born with congenital syphilis
Shockingly, reports from one US state are suggesting a 900% rise in babies born with syphilis. Rest assured a vaccine is on its way. Fact checkers are keen to reassure us that the Covid–19 vaccination is in no way a cause of an increase in syphilis cases.
Australian mother denied heart transplant due to Covid–19 vaccination status
Vicki Derderian, a mum of two who suffers from heart failure and relies on a medical device to keep her heart beating, has been refused a heart transplant because she declined a Covid–19 vaccine over concerns that it would increase her risk of suffering myocarditis or pericarditis. Protestors have blocked the entrance to the hospital as the hospital now demand she has three injections in order to be considered for the life-saving operation.
Many regular readers will know I am always keen to keep an eye on earthquakes, space and disasters. This week, Turkey and Syria have had more earthquakes, with yet more expected. In the UK, South Wales experienced a 3.8-magnitude earthquake on Saturday night: residents reported feeling their homes shaking.
As always my huge thanks to the wonderful team at UK Column News, in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes. And to our audience, readers and listeners, thank you for all your wonderful comments, stories and experiences. Please use and share our information, join your own dots and find your own truth. No two people are the same; we are all different in our outlooks, expectations and beliefs. Trust yourself. Question everything and be the very best person you can.
Until next week,
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1