By Jenny Shepherd, Nov 19 2017 10:58AM
Campaining kills brain cells I'm sure.
I've never tried asphyxiation but there are days when it definitely feels like someone has placed a plastic bag over your head and the air is running out. In the three short years I've been involved in the NHS FIGHTBACK I've seen campaigners slide into depression, paranoia, narcissism and in some cases face the very real fear of personal attack. It's unpleasant.
Sadly I've witnessed good people take up the cause, march onto the battlefield with banners flying only to become seriously wounded and watched them limp from the front to reclaim their sanity and ensure the safety of their relationships, families and loved ones. I don't blame them. I despise those in power even more for destroying their hopes, dreams, and their integrity.
Witnessing and understanding the injustice that is being inflicted upon our NHS, our schools, all our public services, often drives a campaigner to complete distraction. You go to bed late with facts and figures flying round your head, you wake up thinking about cruel closures and the destructive snowball effects on families, children, the disabled, the elderly, the homeless. You can spend every minute of the day ranting at the radio or screaming at the television, furious at the media for not reporting the full picture and allowing the government and NHS England to broadcast a never-ending spew of 'NHS (mis)Information'.
And the email
What the hell did we do without email? A campaigners inbox is a constant torrent of NHS newsletters to keep up with 'the other side'; campaign group information (largely about what you already read in the NHS newsletter); NHS Rumours, emails from campaign colleagues with their spin on things ( what you've just read in the NHS and campaign group newsletter); news about local council meetings, Clinical Commissioning Group meetings.
And the odd one from an old friend asking "are you still there?"
And all this is topped off with the nightly bloody buggery bastard social media echo chamber where campaigners furious (and often brilliant) rants volley off the walls of the digital chasm of Facebook and Twitter. Campaigners get to rant at the government, rant at NHS England, CCGs or STPs, the local NHS Foundation Trust hospital board, rant at the local council and (sadly) each other. Squabbling about the nature and meaning of all those articles and newsheets that landed in everyone's inbox earlier that day.
But one saving grace a campaigner takes heart in is that fellow campaigners, at the end of the day after all the mental anguish, the fallout, the mistakes, the misunderstandings - are all struggling to achieve the same thing. Change can can take time and sometimes leaving each other alone to get on with it is the best tactic. Everyone has different methods and hard as it may be at times we learn to recognise that.
Saving the NHS from the ravages of profit making companies, kicking out the marketplace business competition ethos and bringing back a more holistic publicly owned, funded provided and delivered by us, not by American healthcare companies. A fully funded public service to invest in our futures.
So we're all in the same fight. And on the same side. At least you hope so.
Because if we're not the fight is even harder.
If you feel like challenging the brain cells and NHS England and their cronies who are hellbent on bringing in more American style healthcare visit our Judicial Review page