NHS-worship

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Phil H
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NHS-worship

Post by Phil H » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:15 pm

This might be unpopular but at least it's topical: I find the extent to which the NHS are valorised above almost everything else in this country rather weird and at times sinister.

Yes, its creation was a massive step forward for the UK. Yes, it has been badly neglected and underfunded by recent governments. Yes, it contains many thousands of employees who do their jobs - at times very difficult ones - very well. Yes, the present crisis is underlining our dependence on these people's efforts. Yes, reports of increasing privatisation are worrying.

But why, for example, are its staff considered intrinsically more worthy than those who work in any other form of social care? Or teachers, psychotherapists, trauma counsellors, researchers, human rights lawyers, or even those who work in healthcare through third sector agencies? And perhaps about half the population will at one time or another have had an experience of the NHS being at least unsatisfactory, or worse, but there seems to be a sort of collective amnesia or delusion about this.

I also work for a large public sector organisation and increasingly feel that such organisations are institutionally arrogant by their very nature; I find it hard to believe that the NHS is free of such arrogance. When one thinks of how many problematic or toxic people there were at every school ever, how many more must there be in a workforce of millions?

There's been a popular tweet by Emily Maitlis about how asking challenging questions of the government, far from being inappropriate, is more important than ever in a time of crisis. The power differential between health professionals and patients is of a different nature, but is very real and can lead to considerable suffering - indeed it has done, and unfortunately continues to do so. Making the NHS into our own civic religion, akin to flag-worship in the US, can't be helpful in this respect.

In short, as one of my lecturers said once, I really feel that a lot of people have "thrown away their crap-meters" when it comes to this subject.

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Marc Meakin
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:25 pm

They have been put upon loads of times in the past.
Maybe they have been over compensated in their treatment but I don't begrudge them anything
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Phil H
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Phil H » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:37 pm

I don't have anything against individual workers unless they've given me a reason to, but it's not uncommon to hear people say things like "after this, they should never have to pay taxes again." Okay, maybe they didn't mean it literally, but still, what the fuck?

Off the top of my head, a friend tells me that his psychiatric consultant once said to him "I'll see you in a month and I don't care if you are suicidal or not". My impression of this friend is that he often misinterprets others' statements and intentions, but will almost certainly be reliable when quoting directly. What will he make of the clapping in the windows?

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Jon O'Neill
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Jon O'Neill » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:53 pm

It's what separates us from the animals. It is therefore a huge source of national pride. It's just about the only thing I have any national pride in.

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Marc Meakin
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:58 pm

I guess Phil H can do a slow hand clap
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Phil H
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Phil H » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:08 pm

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:53 pm
It's what separates us from the animals. It is therefore a huge source of national pride. It's just about the only thing I have any national pride in.
I'm embarrassed to say I don't know if it was the first universal healthcare system of its kind - it might well have been - but it's often said that the US is now the only first-world country not to have universal healthcare. So how exceptional is the UK in that respect, really?

Phil H
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Phil H » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:12 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:58 pm
I guess Phil H can do a slow hand clap
I might use that timeslot to get my groceries. Probably the safest time to do so. Maybe that'd even be a better way to honour the NHS than clapping. :lol:

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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:47 pm

This sort of thread is what makes C4C great, regardless of whether one agrees with the specific content. I can't imagine a discussion like this appearing in my Facebook feed without getting shut down immediately.

Anyway - there are lots of aspects to the NHS. So what do people mean when they say it's great? There are lots of doctors and nurses etc. that have a very arrogant and dismissive attitude or generally aren't very good at what they do. Are they to be considered separately from The NHS or they an intrinsic part of it? Obviously there's lots of people who are great at their job as well. There have been cuts due to the Tories that have made it worse - can we say that the NHS isn't very good because of that? Or is The NHS separate from the politicians trying to bring it down? The problem is that whenever anything that you criticise becomes not The NHS, the less and less there is of it left, and it becomes this nebulous entity, devoid of any real meaning.

But what I would say is that the NHS is a great concept, and much better than e.g. the American model where you have to have your own insurance. Funded and run properly, it could be great. But that doesn't mean that in its current form it is great. But criticising the NHS becomes tricky, because people might think you're criticising the concept rather than the specifics, and generally people on the "left" have nothing but praise for it to stay on the safe side and maybe to protect it from the "evil right". But I think there's a lot of groupthink going on there.

As for this clapping thing, I won't be joining in (I tend not to observe these collective things anyway - surprise, surprise), but I'm not going to judge anyone that does. Obviously in this situation NHS workers are putting themselves at risk with the whole coronavirus thing, whereas many other people have got an extended holiday, so maybe many of them do deserve recognition for this. But they're not going to hear me clapping in my house anyway.

Speaking of groupthink, there is a lot of it around this coronavirus thing generally. There is some question over whether my usual running route is open, and people have criticised me for using it, as if Essex County Council's arbitrary decision has any real relationship with whether it's actually safe or not. Also, while I wouldn't advocate to anyone here to break all the "lockdown" rules, they are still open to criticism. We shouldn't just blindly accept that this is the exact set of objectively perfect rules. Also it's not going outside that's dangerous - it's mixing with other people. And I would argue that people who have changed their Facebook profile picture or status to something telling people to stay at home are part of this mindless groupthink.

Phil H
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Phil H » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:00 pm

Well, I've opened the windows and I can certainly hear it in my flat, even though I live in a notoriously reserved area of a notoriously reserved city.

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Marc Meakin
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:49 pm

My step daughter cleans our doctor's surgery.
She enjoyed the adulation.
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Tom S
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Tom S » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:00 pm

I forgot about the hand-clap. A bit embarrassing when it seems like practically everyone in town did it. Hopefully there is another one soon so I can pay my respects.

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Marc Meakin
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:53 pm

I was having a sleep when it happened and woke up as my stepdaughter came through the door
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Callum Todd
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Callum Todd » Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:51 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:47 pm
This sort of thread is what makes C4C great, regardless of whether one agrees with the specific content. I can't imagine a discussion like this appearing in my Facebook feed without getting shut down immediately.
So true. I'll gladly partake in a moment of communal applause for c4c.
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Phil H
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Re: NHS-worship

Post by Phil H » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:42 am

Marc Meakin wrote:
Thu Mar 26, 2020 8:49 pm
My step daughter cleans our doctor's surgery.
She enjoyed the adulation.
I do quite like the aspect of including people like cleaners and care assistants whose jobs aren't given the same social status. Another line being thrown around a lot at the moment is something like "it should be nurses that we pay big money, not investment bankers". I'm not totally unsympathetic to that sentiment, but we have the economic system we have and I don't think nurses' pay is a particular anomaly if we accept the logic of supply and demand. However, I was naive enough to be surprised that my friend's sister earned about £14k per year for her work in a care home, while I earn £20.5k for things like recording the movements of files, ordering stationery and showing technophobes how to operate a scanner.

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