Photograph of Patient
Writing about Patient
To live in the UK and to be a medical patient usually means accessing the National Health Service, a physical reality of a dream for universal medical care. Most people in the UK will accept that in an emergency, the NHS is exceptional. You need immediate medical care, the NHS will pull out all the stops to save your life no matter the cost. Saving lives is more important than money. The trade off for this is that non-emergency care usually takes longer than some other places. The expansion of medical technology and drug technology over the last two decades (longer?) and increased longevity has meant that there is an ever increasing financial cost to providing universal care. The NHS struggles to cope with demand. One consequence of this is that for chronic illnesses you have to be a patient patient. If like me you have spent a considerable amount of time in hospitals then you will have adjusted to some extent and accepted that waiting is just a fact of life. Whether you are waiting to a test, waiting for the ward round, or waiting for the pills to go home; patient is a virtue. I suspect most people don’t mind waiting, it is the uncertainty over how long the wait will go on for that is difficult to deal with. Nowadays most of my waiting is for appointments. I don’t know when I will next see my psychiatrist, my liver specialist or my GP, though I do have my next appointment for my Autism Support. I am used to it I guess. The appointments usually come through at the appointed periodicity but best not miss it, doing so can mean falling out of the system and waiting double the length of time.