Brain Surgeon Guy Rants Against The NHS

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?

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3 Comments / Post A Comment

catalania (#2,285)

It’s not quite right to say the NHS is being privatised, although it is increasingly contracting things out to private firms as a result of Evil Tories messing with the system. Some explanation here and at the following links: http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25660555
None of this affects healthcare being free at the point of use of course! I was just talking yesterday about how fond I’m feeling of the NHS right now. I called up last week with a non-urgent problem, was offered an appointment that hour or the following morning, and since then I’ve had two follow-up appointments and a blood test and have an ultrasound scheduled. Sometimes reading about US healthcare angst on the billfold makes me feel like I should be getting sick more often just to get my money’s worth. Or maybe just wander down and demand random free tests. X-RAY EVERYTHING.

Meaghano (#529)

@catalania Ha, you really really should! Also, thank you for the link, I am genuinely curious.

Eric18 (#4,486)

Your friendly reminder that the U.S. helped start the NHS through the generous aid it gave to an exhausted and bankrupt UK after WW2.

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