Reflecting: clouds/blue sky
An open letter to all UK taxpayers
Thank you. Because of you, when my optician found something worrying yesterday, he didn't say he couldn't help, he booked me an extra appointment at the end of his day to double check.
Because of you there is an eye hospital nearby and when my phone call got through at 9.20 this morning, I was offered an appointment at 11.45. All I was required to contribute was my name, my address and my date of birth.
Because of you, qualified and experienced staff gave me all the time necessary for a detailed eye examination and to answer my questions. And they did the same for all the other people in the waiting room, regardless of employment status, bank balance or insurance cover.
In return, let me tell you that if anything ever obscures your vision, or you ever see flashing lights in your eyes, get yourself as soon as you can to eye casualty, and remember that I will help pick up the bill.
I know there are problems in the National Health Service (show me a workplace where there are not) but today I was reminded again how very much the benefits outweigh them. In some parts of the world - and among a frightening number of UK politicians at the moment - our extraordinary NHS, where we all share the costs of helping those who need health care when they need it, is seen as a step too far towards socialism. If that were really true I'd be out there sharpening the sickles and weightlifting the hammers, despite what the optician told me not to do, but it isn't true. Our NHS is just a humane way of looking after each other.
I really appreciated you doing that for me today.
This is the John Radcliffe children's hospital in Oxford, right next to where I was. When I came out from my appointment my pupils were dilated and the sun was bright. Everything was blurred and I could not see the camera screen at all so I put it on automatic, pointed and hoped!