Well we never did hear..
The Edmund Burke Institute is an Irish organisation. But like
Burke himself we are not above taking cognisance of events of across
the water. And a curious circumstance came to our attention recently.
The sister of one of our directors booked herself into a private
hospital- which had better be nameless- in the South West of England –
to have hip replacement operation. When she emerged full of pain
killers and warfarin ( to thin the blood not end her agony!) she found
herself being cared for by a “district nurse” employed by The National
Health Service. This kind and competent lady blandly announced that she
too had private insurance and had been treated by the same hospital as
This seems to us to be rather a rum do! One’s first thought
should certainly be for the National Health nurse concerned. As someone
said: “If you had seen what she had seen you too would have private
medical insurance!” But there does seem to be a little matter of
consistency here. No one is accusing the nurse concerned of acting in
any way improperly. So she was undoubtedly doing the best she could for
herself and for her family. She may also have believed that by paying
for her own private care she was actually helping the National Health
Service by relieving it of the responsibility for her treatment.
Nevertheless it would be interesting to know how widespread this
practice is? As frankly it is difficult to suppress the thought that
those who are employed by The National Health Service should also be
treated by it.
The matter can be further elucidated a custom in the private
sector. Those employed by stockbrokers are obliged to have their
savings managed by the firm for which they work. This is to align their
interests with those of the firm’s clients. Should there not be a
similar rule in the National Health Service? Should not the interests
of all those who work in The National Health Service be aligned fully
with those that they serve? Is there- perhaps- a case for stopping
those who work in The National Health Service- and similar
organisations elsewhere-from using private medical care? Otherwise it
will be difficult to avoid posing the question: If the National Health
Service is not good enough for those who work in it, just who is it
good enough for?