ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Radioactivists – Viv Lives 4

This week, the British National Health Service is 60 years old. It was launched in 1948 by the then Labour Government and it was spearheaded by the Minister of Health, a Welshman called Nye Bevan. I doubt very much if even his vision for a publicly funded universal health service could have come remotely close to what we have now. It is a much maligned service and when I hear people slagging it off, I want to poke them in the eye!

I too am in my 60th year so I have grown up with the NHS. As a child I remember walking with my Mum who was pushing a pram containing my little sister alongside my Aunty who also pushed a pram containing my baby cousin. We were off to the baby clinic where we were measured, weighed and checked over. We were given a supply of ‘real’ orange juice which was in clear glass bottles with blue screw top caps. My sister and I loved this. We were also given similar bottles containing cod liver oil which we loathed. This was the start of the NHS.

Later when we were in primary school we were examined regularly by the school dentist and the school doctor and of course ‘Nitty Norah the bug explorer’ the school nurse who did regular head checks for lice. We had our eyesight checked and we were immunised against appalling diseases such as diptheria (our Mum’s 5 year old little sister Barbara had died from this just a generation before ours). And on it has gone, throughout my life, whenever I needed medical advice or treatment, when I had my babies, it was there for me and never once have I had to consider the cost or whether or not I had enough insurance.

When my youngest grandaughter was born prematurely and rushed to a specialist neo-natal hospital because her lungs wouldn’t work, she was placed in an incredible incubator on a ward that looked like something from ‘Star Trek’. Her life was saved by the most amazing technology, drugs and highly skilled doctors and nurses. I marvel when I look at her now, a tall, strong 7 year old who can swim like a fish, ride a bike, read and write and keep us all amused for hours on end with her funny ways and I thank the NHS for giving her to us.

This year I have had to call upon the NHS bigstyle. It was triggered by my routine regular (every three years) NHS screening programme for cervical cancer. I went along to our family GP surgery for the smear test. Two weeks later I was told that the result showed abnormal cells and I needed further examination. In the event I had to undergo a number of (presumably expensive) procedures – colposcopy, pelvic scan and a hysteroscopy. Eventually I was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus. Then I had an MRI scan followed by a radical hysterectomy. This in turn has been followed up by a four week course of daily radiotherapy and finally, next week I will have brachytherapy. My treatment will then be over and I will then be monitored for five years beginning with checkups every three months. None of this has cost me a penny (apart from what we have paid in taxes throughout our working lives). I thank the NHS for pulling out all the stops to give me my life.

Adrienne who hosts this website is alive today because she lives in the UK and is provided with the drugs and medical support that she needs. HIV is a very expensive condition in some parts of the world and in many others it is a certain death sentence. I thank the NHS for keeping my clever, talented cousin alive so that she can paint beautiful pictures and make us laugh with her funny blogs.

So happy, happy birthday the NHS. I hope that Nye Bevan is looking down from somewhere feeling very pleased and justifiably proud of what he started. It’s up to us to ensure that it is treasured forever.


  Julie wrote @

Hear hear….

Now that I’ve just written that it looks really odd. Should it be ‘here, here’ ?

Neither version seems to make sense, but the sentiment of course is well said Viv!

(don’t read this bit Adrienne….)

I used to work with an American girl who once cut herself badly and had to sew the cut up herself because she didn’t have medical insurance. Call that a civilised country?

Long live the NHS!

  Barb wrote @

Julie – as an accomplished linguist, can confirm that neither is correct and it is in fact, ‘ear, ear!’

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