Over the past two years, the NHS has been facing the most unimaginable scenes possible. It therefore is not surprising that it did not take long for the effects of an under-funded system to start showing its cracks once again.
Not only were we witness to the images of NHS workers lacking the essential PPE at the start of the pandemic, but we were reminded of the simple fact that once these workers were finished putting their own lives at risk in order to save our lives, they then had to leave the hospitals in which their car parks earned more money than they did that day.
We, as a nation, have had to witness many of these individuals, some even coming out of their retirement to help fight this disease, lose their own lives for the sake of helping us keep ours. This is something our nation will never be able to truly give back for and therefore, it is not difficult to see and understand how the donation of money towards the NHS has become such a public phenomenon.
This phenomenon began with the late Captain Tom Moore, who walked around his garden at the height of the pandemic to raise money and ended up raising a total of over £9 million to go towards the NHS. This immediately spiked the public’s interest and led to this rise in wanting to donate. But should we not have questioned why our country was relying on a 99-year-old war veteran to fund our NHS in a crisis?
Another prime example of the irony which comes with the government’s complete disregard for the NHS comes after a recent Love Island star, who is currently training to be a part of the NHS, has donated all her earnings to the NHS. Why should our future doctors be trying to help fund a service promised by our government?
The NHS is a state-funded service, not a charity.
It goes without saying these donations are a wonderful privilege to be involved in and they all come from the right place, but we need to stop portraying this image of the NHS being something to donate towards when, in reality, it should be a fully state-funded program. It also needs to be noted there are many charities involved within the NHS that can be donated to, but presenting these donations as going towards the NHS allows for those responsible to go unnoticed. It defers the public from the truth behind the matter, which is the government should be sustaining and fulfilling the NHS’s requirements and needs without hesitation, confusion, or problems. This should not be done through the public’s own donations, but through a clear and justified taxation system. (Which is a whole other problem given recent developments).
This is also not a new dilemma, the government has continuously refused to back the NHS through their cutbacks and their denying of well-deserved pay rises. It is vital to remember those in government who applauded the NHS front liners are the same individuals who managed to block a vote to give nurses a pay rise. But what has shocked me most over the past two years is the complete irony of our government through their appraisal of the efforts made by the public. How can a government not be ashamed and embarrassed by the fact their own country is having to fund a service which should be entirely funded by you?
The NHS did not need the government’s public show of appreciation through their Thursday night claps. They need the resources, the funding, and the support they are entitled to.