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Free at the point of entry

March 3, 2009

coverpic7660.gif Last night I had to call out an ambulance and the spend from 1800 to 0200 in the Accident and Emergency Unit of Great Western Hospital in Swindon. It wasn’t for me before you ask and I’m not going to go into the details. Suffice to say that everything looks OK at the moment. However I think its worth noting that the paramedics arrived within four minutes (and we live in a rural location). The 999 service kept me on the telephone until the paramedics arrived in case I needed to be given remote instructions for resuscitation. Blood tests, and ECG and other tests later we left the hospital in the early hours of the morning with a booking for more detailed investigations later. We had overdosed drug addicts and a police case in along with other tragedies of varying degrees of magnitude. The staff were unfailing polite, helpful and scrupulous in their attention to detail, despite being tired. Over the last decade I have spent more time in hospitals with different relatives that I care to think about, but that pattern of staff behaviour has never faltered, never fallen short.

Critically I have no bill, no money to pay. I didn’t sit in the hospital worrying about a fast discharge or maybe compromising on tests for financial reasons. Free at the point of entry health provision is a basic test of civilisation and humanity in any society.

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