The safety of a J O B
Through becoming self employed in 2019 and dramatically leaving my beautiful NHS I have noticed how snobby I have become in regards to having a job and being self employed. So I wanted to write some words about this, I felt my job was to blame for many of my negative experience. It was boring, tiring, stressful or extremely mind numbing. I wasn’t valued, paid enough or respected enough and I could go on…
I now sit here in my kitchen/office space in Frome close to having a nervous breakdown from the anxiety about my income and lack of flight for my business feeling very guilty about my sometimes strong opinions about my beautiful NHS job.
I did not realise the support network I had, the hugs (COVID changed this anyway!, the accountability, the benefits, the physical benefits of being in a huge building, the journey to work, the safety in the boringness! So I apologise NHS job (BG). And as an apology I also want to acknowledge the founding of the NHS here in this short summary below:
On 1st April 1930 the London County Council took over responsibility for around 140 hospitals, medical schools and other institutions after the abolition of the Metropolitan Asylums Board. By the time the Second World War broke out, the London Council was running the largest public service of its kind for healthcare.
Further momentum was gained when Dr. A.J Cronin’s novel “The Citadel” (Picture from the novel below) was published in 1937 and proved to be highly controversial for its criticism of the inadequacies of healthcare. The book was based on a story about a doctor from a small Welsh mining village who climbed the ranks to become a doctor in London. Cronin had observed the medical scene greatly and the book prompted new ideas about medicine and ethics, inspiring to some extent the NHS and the ideas behind it. This shows how influential books and novels were (they were todays NETFLIX or BBC).
There was a growing consensus that the current system of health insurance should be extended to include dependents of wage-earners and that voluntary hospitals should be integrated. These discussions were not taken any further when in 1939 the outbreak of the Second World War took precedence.
The wartime period necessitated the creation of the Emergency Hospital Service to care for the wounded, making these services dependent on the government. The issue of health provisions in Britain was a growing problem.
By 1941, the Ministry of Health was in the process of agreeing a post-war health policy with the aim that services would be available to the entire general public. A year later the Beveridge Report put forward a recommendation for “comprehensive health and rehabilitation services” and was supported across the House of Commons by all parties. Eventually, the Cabinet endorsed the White Paper put forward by the Minister of Health Henry Willink in 1944, which set out the guidelines for the NHS. The principles included how it would be funded from general taxation and not national insurance. Everyone was entitled to treatment including visitors to the country and it would be provided free at the point of delivery.
These ideas were taken on by the next Health Minister Aneurin Bevan.
I owe the NHS a thank you not so much for the healthcare but for the community provided in working for the NHS for me and my family.
Jessica Brain who is a freelance writer specialising in history. Based in Kent and a lover of all things historical.