After reading http://hat4uk.wordpress.com/ I realise I should make something clear, and explicitly express my adoration for the NHS. It may not be fast, it may not be flawless, but the notion of free health care for all still swells my British heart. Seeing the work firsthand that goes into reducing health inequities is genuinely awe-inspiring, and although it may have gone a bit diabetic in its old age, it still does a cracking job of training, recruiting and retaining some of the most committed individuals our communities have to offer. I’m not implying it’s altruism – I know others may disagree but I think most of us are paid quite reasonably since public sector pay increases under Labour – but I’m going to hazard a guess there’s a higher concentration of generally decent and morally sound people working for the NHS than in, say, the banking sector or estate agencies.
Unfortunately, the employment rights and decent pay do also attract and subsequently retain some entirely soulless arseholes. There are loads of them, and whether they seem to end up in management positions as a result of their Machiavellian pursuit for an easy life or the rolls of red tape that protect them and enable them to weave their way up the ladder, there are some seriously lazy people working in the NHS and there is nothing, it seems, that anyone can do about it. Luckily there are just enough self-sacrificing grafters to keep the boat afloat, but their workloads are even greater because of the shameless free-loaders that drink lattes and ‘work from home’ without ever really producing anything in return for their public pay-packet. And if they ever do get formally challenged, they can just go off sick and wait for the whole thing to blow over, sitting at home drinking lattes and getting paid for it, just like the old days.
It’s a frighteningly delicate balance, it seems, between worker rights and worker piss-taking-opportunities. Much as with the reduction of health inequities for drug users, as per my first post, the NHS can be a victim of its own success and tip the balance slightly too far. As with so many of my favourite things about this country, systems which are free for all become a free-for-all, and probably my least favourite thing about human nature is that there is always someone eager to find a generous system to exploit.
All said, I’ve fulfilled a life ambition in working for the old boy, and whilst emotionally I cannot serve him much longer, I am sure in years to come, when he is dead, I will think of my time with him with tenderness and pride.