Right, quick question: do you generally read this blog by:
a) Going to the website,
b) Checking your RSS feed (e.g. Google Reader), or
c) other means?
This matters for two reasons. ONE: If you've all been coming to the website directly all this time, then it's high time I switched to a regular schedule, and TWO: if you HAVEN'T been coming directly, now is the time to do so because I've revamped the CSS and would appreciate feedback.
Look at it shine so prettily.
In other news, a friend of mine asked that I blog about my experiences with the NHS. It can't have escaped your attention that The Powers That Be in America are contemplating reforming their health system. Instead of rebuilding from the ground up, Obama et al have decided to make (necessary and overdue) changes to their existing system. This has spurred hundreds of Twitterers to contribute to the hashtag: "We love the NHS."
There are doubtless hundreds of people better qualified to talk about the NHS than I. However, I suppose if I'm not an average person, who is? So these are my experiences:
When I had hearing problems at age 6, I got grommits, and we didn't have to pay.
When I developed asthma at age 9, they gave me inhalers, and we didn't have to pay.
When I needed stitches - when my periods went haywire - when I had a brush with depression - medical care was always available to me, and I never had to worry about cost. (Not everyone qualifies for free prescriptions, but I always have done.) I take it for granted. It's not until I talk to one of my friends in America and they mention some health trouble - back pain, or a stomach bug, or anything small - that I remember how lucky we have it. Because in most cases my friends are students or young workers, and they can't afford the hundreds of dollars it sometimes costs to get healthcare without insurance.
In the past few weeks I've learned more about how expensive it can be to get insurance in the US, particularly if you've got a preexisting condition. I've learned about the caps they put on their policies (so if your special needs child hits the upper limit, they cancel your insurance).
As luck would have it, I'm talking to someone in the UK right this minute who has bad ear pain. So what's he going to do? Go see the doctor, of course, it's a no-brainer. And he won't be left any poorer for it, whatever the diagnosis is. So, yes. The NHS is far from perfect, but I consider us blessed to have this system.
Healthcare is a right, not a privilege.