On 5th July the National Health Service turned 68 years old. The health secretary at the time, Aneurin Bevan, launched the NHS at Park Hospital in Manchester (now Trafford General Hospital). This brought together hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists under one umbrella organisation to providing services free for all at the point of delivery.
Despite growing concerns, a survey in 2014 by the Commonwealth Fund ranked the NHS as 'best system in terms of efficiency, effective car, safe care, coordinated care, patient-centered care and cost related problems'. The NHS is still constantly undergoing change as you can see in the NHS Constitution
duty of candour
end of life care
staff rights, responsibilities and commitments
dignity, respect and compassion
Many of us today are grateful to the NHS and wish it a long and healthy life. Nothing brought this home to me more than the art installation at the British Museum 'Cradle to the Grave' by:
The installation is a two 13 meter long display which tells the story of the health of eight individuals by a pill 'diary', objects and documents, and personal photographs and demonstrates the average consumption of over 14,000 drugs an estimation of what the average person is prescribed in Britain in their lifetime.
We are delighted to announce that prose written by our Practice Business Manager, Reggie Simpson, will be featured in the Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Rhyme & Reason 2018 diary, now in its 26th year. The theme for this forthcoming year’s diary is ‘Freedom’. All proceeds from sales of the diary go to support this worthwhile charity.
Reggie says: ‘Although my entry wasn't among the top poetry and prize winners, I was chuffed to be selected for the 2018 diary. The theme was quite broad, but my degrees in politics and love of writing invariably drew me to entering the competition. In the end I settled on a focus of freedom in healthcare, no doubt inspired by my current employment at Betafeet Podiatry and the noble work of Rennie Grove Hospice Care ( www.renniegrove.org ).
Rennie Grove Hospice Care, formally known as Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, merged with Grove House, St Albans in 2010 to integrate services in south western Hertfordshire. The ethos and values of the two charities were closely aligned with the principle of allowing patients to lead a good quality of life at home for as long as possible, helping patients and their families avoid the distress of unnecessary hospital visits whenever possible.
The diaries can be ordered from the Rennie Grove website, payment by debit/credit card. It's part of their annual Christmas/holiday promotion. There will also be copies in local Rennie Grove shops. They are £5 each with additional postage if bought online. Shop locations can be found here: http://www.renniegrove.org/support/our-shops/online-shop/page/2/ .
Here is Reggie’s entry (to appear in the month of September 2018):
‘Do not count the days; make the days count.’
Muhammad Ali. Professional Boxer. Audacious. Charismatic. A winner in the ring.
But even when you have won it all, life throws you a few more punches.
Yes, his name opened doors and wealth, but the bombastic man of his younger years was humbled in later life, and following retirement, he dedicated himself increasingly to charitable work. Parkinson’s was already taking hold.
He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest honour the USA can bestow. He died in June 2016, aged 74.
Now the news is about boxing helping dementia sufferers.
So what does this mean for freedom? Does getting battered around the head spell freedom and choice? One would say yes; a boxer is free to take such risks. When the consequences deal you a fatal blow as a result, when do you lose your freedom? Is it when you have been reduced to a shadow of your former self, a normal human being, and have to rely on others? Muhammad Ali likely had plenty of resources to ensure his final days would help him on his final journey.
We tend to think of freedom in political terms. It is hard to remove freedom in healthcare from politics. Think NHS reform, among others. Freedom in a healthcare environment means more to the individuals and families when they have life-limiting illnesses and need the care of volunteer-run hospices such as Iain Rennie Grove.
The NHS gives patients the rights to make choices about different aspects of the care they receive, from the different treatment options available. How these are chosen is individual, although for those with life threatening or limiting illnesses this choice will fall on family members.
I quote the following:
‘In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties’.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Philosopher
September is World Alzheimer’s Month.