Today marks the 70 years since the NHS (National Health Service) was established. The aim of the NHS is to provide free health care at the point of use for the people in the United Kingdom. I only joined NHS on October 2016 and it is only now that I had realized the importance and how great this service is for its people and for the employees. They said that NHS is the best health care system in the world. I have also learned that the average life expectancy in the United Kingdom is 81.5 years. I can personally attest to that. Since I am working in a medical ward in the hospital, the majority of our patients are aged 70 to 90 years old. UK has a high life expectancy. And they said it is because of the health care system of the country. Living in the United Kingdom for 1 year and 8 months now, I have seen a lot of good things about this country. In general, they eat healthy food, the air is clean and there’s no pollution. There’s a lot of choices for vegan food, gluten-free diet, etc. in the grocery and restaurants. There are options to add salad in the meals, and their dessert consists mainly of fresh fruits like satsuma (orange), pears, banana and yoghurt.
Things I like about NHS:
One of the values that they are promoting is equality in gender and in race. There is absolutely no judgment. No matter what your background is, where you’ve come from, you will be treated the same as with everyone else. United Kingdom is one of the most multi-cultured countries in the world. While watching the 2017 New Year celebration Fireworks display in London, the beginning was a statement “Welcome to London!” said in different languages. United Kingdom acknowledges the contribution of other nationalities in the services of its people.
This is an ethical principle that was discussed to us in college. Justice is healthcare for everyone. Justice is equal and fair distribution of resources. And I must say, the resources are distributed to its people and the cost are shared by everyone through the tax that we are paying.
Free health care system
One thing that amazes me in working in NHS is the free health care system provided to its people. From the time a patient is seen by ambulance at home and brought to the hospital in the A&E (Accident and Emergency) department, transferred to AAU (Acute Assessment Unit) and zoned to a specific ward, jug of water is provided, tea, coffee, biscuits and cakes are served during teatime, menus are given for lunch and supper and choices are offered for breakfast, all the medication tablets, intravenous (IV) medications, inhalers, wound dressings, doctor’s rounds, nursing care, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, etc., if needed, throughout the whole hospitalisation are completely free. Upon discharge, depending on the condition, ambulance transport is being booked to send the patient home, TTO (To Take Out medications or the medications that the patient will need to take at home) are also being supplied for 2 weeks.
There’s also free diagnostic procedures like MRI, CT scan, PET Scan, Xray, etc., procedures like liver biopsy, chest drain insertion and for cancer patients, the chemotherapy is free and if surgery is indicated, it is also free. There’s the social services that provides the equipment at home if necessary like the sarasteady, commode or hoist for bedbound patients that will be discharge in their own home. It’s a holistic approach because if the patient will be discharged in the community that needs help, he can be referred to district nurse or alcohol support group, etc. I am wondering how rich this country is, to be able to provide a free health care to its people and the legal residents of the UK. It’s true, it’s an envy of the world. There are pros and cons of having a free health care, but this is the same as the pros and cons of all the things in life. We cannot disregard the fact of the benefit it is giving to the patients and for us workers.
Working in the NHS has given me a great experience and opened my eyes in the realities of life. That life is so much different for the people living in the first world country compared to people in the third world countries. This opened my eyes to the reality, from someone who grew up in a third world country, we can continue to hope that we can head to the direction of growth. That there is hope for my own country to improve. From this experience, I can cultivate the wonderful things that they are doing and maybe, when the time is right, I can go back to my home country and bring the wonderful ideas I learned from the West.
As an employee of NHS, it has given me good compensation, work-life balance, good trainings and opportunity to study that is sponsored by the employer, a lot of learnings encountered everyday at work that I can share to our colleagues, co-workers and student nurses.
There is so much realisations about life in itself that I am pondering even until now.
P.S. All pictures are taken from google.com images.