Reassurance during Covid jab was 'a credit to our National Health Service'

Nurse Maria Alexiou preparing COVID vaccinations at the new mass vaccination centre at Connaught Hal

15 million people vaccinated against Covid-19 so far - Credit: Danielle Booden

Last week I became one of the 15 million people vaccinated against Covid-19 so far, slightly jumping the queue because a previous illness left me in the clinically extremely vulnerable category. Heading a mile down the road to the much loved Seaton Hospital, I was asked to be ready for a jab at 10.12am. Duly, at 10.15am, in went a dose of the Astra Zeneca Oxford vaccine.
On my way in, I passed a man juggling in the car park which, for the many elderly people who may have emerged a little fearfully from Lockdown 3 for this one purpose, probably gave welcome light relief. The check in, safe distance supervision, pre-jab reassurance, the jab itself, and the fifteen minutes sitting in a waiting room to make sure there were no side effects was a credit to our National Health Service. Not to forget the legion of kind volunteers helping out all round.
I am sure I am not the only one who cast my mind back to 2015/16 when the government’s latest half-baked plans for the NHS robbed Seaton of its inpatient beds, which would have been so useful to help discharge Covid-19 recovering patients back into the community from the RD&E. And some of the volunteer faces would have been on the polite and positive protests which sent a clear message to our local MPs – if you ever close this hospital, you’ll be political history.
At a national level today – just in time for the county elections – big noises are being made that the PM wishes to distance himself from the terrible 2012 Andrew Lansley “reforms” to the NHS, which were the roadmap to privatisation. Let’s see. Of course, the government’s natural pals and party backers will always circle like vultures around our National Health Service – at an entire quarter of annual national expenditure, that’s a lot of pounds if private companies can get in on the act.
Like the government’s absolute determination to dismantle the BBC, it’s been all about using a wrecking strategy in the name of progress to remove competition with the private sector and to turn the NHS from a part of the national fabric of the UK into a cash cow for those who can devise opaque financial instruments to milk it – enabled of course by that blight on our country for the last forty years, the rise of the management consultants and accountants.
This is why every time we have been the beneficiary of the kindness of the NHS we need to celebrate it. Of course, with millions being treated every week for the last 75 years, things are bound not to be perfect sometimes. Terrible mistakes get made, opportunities for early diagnosis lost for example. But the good that is done daily greatly outweighs all this.

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