In need of a redesign since 2011.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

NHS, CSS, and other letters as well

Hello everybody!

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.


  1. Hey =D I read the blog by coming here from your Twitter. Blogger would also tell me but I never check it. I agree with you about the health care, in a sense it's the 'you never know what you have til it's gone' but all you have to do is look at the US to see what it'd be like if it was gone. I'd be ok now that my family is in an upper price bracket, but a couple of years ago when I had health problems, I'd dread to think what'd happen without the NHS.

    I like the new layout =D


  2. I like the blog! It makes me tingly like I'm looking at a Victoria Secret's storefront.

    It is very enlightening to read about your experiences -- thank you very much!

    On the flip side of things, would you or your parents have had more "take-home" money had you all been working in similar capacities and living in similar standards of neighborhoods in the US? In other words, would you all have had more cash to spend toward health care if the health care weren't "free"? This is one point raised by US conservatives: yes, everyone would get health coverage but eventually everyone gets less money because of the taxes used to pay for it. Of course, the people who would seem to get hit the hardest with taxes (without direct benefit) are those who never have significant health problems but still pay taxes.

    Another concern is that there might be people in the US who just don't bother to take care of themselves because their care is paid for by others. Do people seem to do this in the UK?

    And then the last conservative concern I remember is that there would be tons of people who are either not citizens or unemployed (non-taxpayers) who would also take advantage of the care paid for by others. Does this seem to affect anything over there?

    I really appreciate getting the viewpoint of someone who's living under the NHS to compare with the predictions of the political rabblerousers over here!

  3. I currently have stomach trouble; have had for a month. Went to my doctor, and he's given me one whole month's supply for just 7.20 (about 10$). Actually, it's free, cos I'm currently claiming jobseeker's. Paulidin: I'm sure people do take advantage of this system. And... I'm one of them.

    Like the background by the way. I see a flamingo...

  4. I check my blogger dashboard pretty regularly and it tells me when you have a new blog and I come directly to the page (which is very pretty by the way...makes me want a cupcake but I'm not sure why!)

    I think the NHS is a flawed system but most of the time it can work out well. It's good that in the UK you have the option to go private if you're fortunate enough to be able to afford it (my Dad has private healthcare with work and I've used it...waiting 2 days for a scan was better than waiting 2 weeks or 2 months). But I don't see that many people taking advantage of the NHS, I don't think having a job should be a condition on whether or not you get health care...because lots of people would fall out of this category (students, housewives, recently retired/made redundent).

    As for the taxes thing, at this point the NHS has been around so long that people can't remember not paying taxes for it, so I don't think people complain about it. The US would only complain because they would notice the change!

    Those are most of my thoughts, but finally I'd like to say that I like the NHS for a number of reasons:
    -I've received healthcare from them many a time
    -My Mum works for them
    -I receive a nice bursary from them for my course at uni :D

    That is all!

  5. I read the blog by coming straight to the website. I do that for every blog I read. I appreciate the new background - hey, at least you redesign, and you have ideas.

    I appreciate the NHS. They picked me up from Soho when I developed sudden gastroenteritis in one of the pubs, they look at my skin when I'm worried about something, they even found a vegetarian alternative to drugs with gelatine in the coating. And it's all free.

    As it should be.

    It's in debt, but it works.

  6. Thanks so much for all your comments! Judi: A stork, I thought, but you're the zoology genius :)

    The new design's a little rough just now; hopefully I'll be ironing out the creases in the coming week or so.

  7. I came straight here from Flix, but what with this effectively being the first time I have done so that's not so helpful.*

    And yes, the NHS is awesome. Sure, it's got it's flaws, but I am proud to live in a country which provides free healthcare. I guess it's convenient for me to like the NHS, what with dedicating my life to it and all. But yes, go NHS. The American healthcare system is abhorrent to me - I remember reading a news story about a particular street where all the patients who couldn't afford treatment were dumped, sometimes quite literally with drips still in place. Disgraceful.

    *I think I've been here before many moons ago.

  8. Thanks very much for the feedback, Callan! Can I ask, what's Flix?

  9. She is the owner of a blog somewhere else: Flitterbee. General blog-hopping arrival, me.

  10. Got the site feed in my RSS readers (Thunderbird and Google). Wouldn't miss it!

  11. Also (and I know this is a bit cheeky) but while you're changing bits of your site, could you possibly enable comments via Name/URL identification? I had to create a google account to comment and it's not functioning quite as I'd intended...


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