If I read one more sensationalised scare story about the NHS going out of its way to slice and dice patients into an early grave upon admittance, I’ll make it my mission to find the person responsible for peddling this damaging crap and force them to live in the US.

I’ll then contrive some way for them to lose a few limbs and enjoy watching as they agonise over which one they can afford to reattach.

The line in “so-and-so was denied water for days by cruel NHS doctors and nurses” stories will always generate lucrative clicks for certain rags that will remain unnamed.

And yes, there was a shocking report last week about a 17-year-old girl who died during a routine operation, allegedly because surgeons bungled the procedure (though, contrary to the accompanying headline, it turns out this is just a theory and the NHS Trust hospital involved is “investigating”).

If true, it’s a tragedy, and the family of the girl deserves to be angry. But it shouldn’t be taken to represent the typical experience provided by an incredibly important system that most residents of the UK would quite frankly be buggered without.

At a time when the NHS is in more peril than it has ever been – thanks to nonsensical Tory reforms and the instalment of a health secretary who said he believes the system should be rejigged so patients can “purchase health care from the provider of their choice” – we need more voices championing the NHS, not baying for blood in cynical pursuit of a juicy headline.

Take the American friend of mine who recently moved to London from New York and can’t quite get her head around not having to pay to see her GP.

“So I make an appointment, and he sees me for free?” she keeps asking, bamboozled. To her, the NHS is nothing short of a miracle.

It shouldn’t be miraculous that, in this day and age, a person can be treated for illness no matter how much, or little, they earn. But it is, and we had better not forget it.


Harriet Harman: Sesless shocker

Harriet Harman set off a flush of blushes last week when she admitted in her Labour party conference speech to having read Fifty Shades Of Grey, and then added: “Let’s be honest, what most women want is not a man who ties you to the bed, but one who unstacks the dishwasher while you watch the Great British Bake Off.”

In a perhaps vaguely admirable attempt to seem hip to popular culture, the deputy leader of the opposition strayed into what can only ever be a no-win situation – mixing sex with politics.

Say you’d rather watch the box than break out the nipple clamps and you live up to the dry-as-a-bone, dull politician stereotype. Profess instead a fondness for pegging and no one will ever be able to look at you in the House of Commons again.

The lesson? Just stick to the policies, love. You can talk mommy porn on your own time.


Agree or disagree? Is the NHS worth saving? letters@tntmagazine.com


Image: Getty