We clap for them, we praise them, but what are we actually doing to change things for them?
I have been in even more excruciating pain than usual, and I should have gone to hospital a lot sooner, but due to a history of medical gaslighting and dealing with constant pain, I find it hard to register when something hurting is ‘serious’. By which I mean, it is impossible to know when a hospital could actually help, especially if they usually make things worse. Not just if they are rude or if I experience a flare from sitting in the waiting room for hours, or if they don’t take my bloods properly and put me in more pain, but also because going to hospital when you’ve had bad experiences can be quite traumatic. Something happened. And for the first time in my life, when I went to hospital it showed up on a scan. It showed up in my blood tests. It showed up in the faces of the doctors who didn’t look at me like I was lying.
The doctors taking care of me on this occasion were very caring. It was my first inpatient stay as an adult rather than a child, and that changed how I was treated but also how I perceive the NHS. I now notice just how much is systemically wrong, how trapped the staff are in a system that is under so much strain, how new doctors are taken advantage of, and experienced doctors are desensitised. No matter how much these health professionals want to serve, they are often restricted by the pressures of bureaucracy and ‘efficiency’. For the majority of the doctors I have seen (note, the good ones, the kind ones) English is not their first language. And yet Brexit and our xenophobic laws mean we have created an unwelcoming environment for them, and we are limiting a great number of incredible healthcare professionals from coming to work in the UK by stopping freedom of movement. We clap for them, we praise them, but what are we actually doing to change things for them? Donations alone are not going to fix this system or change these laws. I hope in the next general election our votes reflect what our NHS workers deserve, because it is not this.