Erica Wagner’s profile of the UK brain surgeon Henry Marsh for the New Statesman is really interesting. Marsh is one of the top surgeons in his field, spent a lot of time in Ukraine pioneering medical advances, keeps bees, and has just written a memoir about his work. He wanted to wait to retire until he was 67, but after he got disciplined for wearing a watch outside of surgery, he decided to leave work sooner. Here is his little rant against the privatization of the NHS!
“If you treat people like naughty children, they’ll behave like naughty children. I love my work: I have my limits.” But it was the last straw in a long line of grievances he bears against the increasingly unwieldy machinery of the NHS in the 21st century. It’s much harder for him to raise money now, he says, for things such as the roof garden, or the beautiful photographs he has arranged to have hung in the ward so that his patients have something pleasant and distracting to look at, rather than peering out at the cemetery just beyond the building’s walls.
“People were willing to give money when they felt it was more like a charitable organisation – but now that the NHS is being privatised by the dumb fucks who run the government, people think: ‘Why should I give money to the NHS?’ Now the buses are owned privately, you think: ‘Why should I give way to the bus?’ Whereas when it was a public service, you thought: ‘I’ll let the bus go first.’ But I’m not going to do that now! You lose a lot that way.”
Going to put my otherwise sterling reputation for Knowing Things on the line here and admit I knew nothing about the privatization of the NHS until now, but I do like this idea of us letting the bus go ahead of us if it’s a public service and resenting it if it’s part of a corporation. Is that true?