When I think of Zuri in 2200 BC, my greatest sadness is her health. Am I right in this, or wrong? Did she have a vitality in her few years that contrasts with so many people being tired of life these days? The amazing NHS once promised that we would all be healthy and the cost of treatment would fall; Bournemouth Hospital proves otherwise.
I cycle to hospital on most occasions, a 14 mile round trip. The last half mile, after leaving the River Stour, comes as a shock. Traffic and dangerous crossings are bad enough; the air pollution is less obvious. It’s sad that the hospital sits in such a traffic ridden area. This very traffic is one of the reasons why costs for the NHS have rocketed.
The Healing Community
Inside the hospital, I am amazed at its size and complexity. It is like a small town, entire within itself; the mostly young, vibrant, skilled staff contrast with the ailing oldies. They sit, shuffle, get pushed about in wheelchairs and often stare vacantly at the walls. Yet the building radiates a certain confidence because it possesses the expertise we really need at a difficult time.
The Early NHS
I recall my early days, the 1950’s in Shrewsbury. The Victorian Infirmary, now a shopping centre, was the focus for emergencies, and seemed to cope with the entire town. But then I realised that there were two other hospitals, both little more than prefabs or Nissen huts. Another, the Ear, Nose and Throat hospital was separate and, way out in the countryside, was the massive mental hospital, once a workhouse. Some of these hospitals were really poor. Shrewsbury, like Bournemouth, has invested heavily to create one site, one medical township.
How Can the NHS Survive?
What a question. I once prided myself about staying away from the surgery, about not taking medication, but pride is an absurd word. Now, I have no choice but to fall back on the medical experts. Age is the real problem, that we live longer and so fall apart, bit by bit. For me the amazing NHS is now Bournemouth Hospital. If we could solve their traffic problem, then the improved air quality might make us all less dependent. Britain is the second most air polluted country in Europe, only Italy is worse. That dirty air is a massive strain on the NHS and may be making young lives less healthy. The foetus is the most vulnerable stage in all our lives.