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999 Call for the NHS

A grassroots NHS campaign. Not affiliated to any of the political parties.

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Jon Ronson - Journalist and Film Maker

By 999 Call for the NHS, Jan 29 2015 08:54AM

When my son was one year old we were playing together and he grabbed me from behind and poked his finger in my eye and it went all the way in. The eye. All the way back into my head. I’m sorry to throw that piece of information out at you without any trigger warning. Anyway, my eye went into spasms. Imagine that. An eye spasming. By weird coincidence Lloyd Cole was in our kitchen at the time - he’s a friend of my wife - and so Lloyd Cole has watched me scream.

I waited for the pain to die down but it didn’t. It only got worse. So I went to the Moorfields Eye Hospital. And they were like angels. Really. Like angels in the night. They fixed me up. They were so kind and professional and calming. So lovely.

Another time I was helping a builder onto the roof of our block of flats and one of those swinging ladders swung down and smashed me on the head. So I went to A&E. The doctor asked me what on earth did I think I was I doing, helping a builder onto a roof? I said, “It’s funny you should say that. At the time it reminded me of one of those early scenes in Casualty.” We both laughed and laughed at that.

Now I’m living in New York City for a while. They’ve just put up my insurance premium, whilst simultaneously covering me for less. Lots of people in America pay more for their medical insurance than they pay in tax. I’ve met middle class Americans who cannot afford to take a driving holiday across the State because of the amount they pay in medical insurance. When you’re not working harder and harder to pay the premiums, you’re dealing with the mountains of paperwork. The bureaucracy is incredible. I have PILES of paper in front of me that say, “explanation of benefits” and “accumulators” and “amount not covered”.

What do I miss most about Britain? The NHS - and what the NHS means. It means decency and love and kindness. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone.

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