Few weeks ago I received a letter from the surgery where I am registered. Oh, in this country surgery does not mean operation, I am not having a surgery. It is just some kind of clinic, where doctors and nurses are working.
The letter, or newsletter I should say, is about a free smear test that I could take, courtesy to the NHS. Isn’t it awesome?
Although I would say that I hate smear test, I love NHS. NHS stands for National Health Service. The name says it all. Basically it is the government funded program for people (citizen and residents) so that they could get a free standardised medical service in the UK. It is believed that the UK healthcare system is one of the best in the world.
If you want to know how it started and how far it has developed, you might want to watch “Call the Midwife”, BBC British period drama set in London 1950s, inspired on a memoir. Oh yes, true story. The free healthcare system in the UK has started long time ago.
With NHS, I could get free contraception, and free smear test. My husband and I can get free GP consultation, and most of the time entitled to get free prescription and standard medication if he needs it. Blood test, STD test, etc. are free too. Most of the time they would even provide free condoms in the clinic. Can’t you see how cunning it is?
The government seems like spending so much money for these services. But actually, if we think about it, it is much cheaper to prevent pregnancy than paying child benefit for people who don’t work. It is much cheaper to supply free contraception than curing STIs or paying for an abortion. It is much cheaper to be able to detect illness before it becomes terminal and would take more money to “fix”.
I think, it is very cunning.
However, many British citizen seems as if they don’t see it as a privilege of living in a first world country. They don’t seem to appreciate these services. They moan when they had to wait hours for a FREE GP consultation. They become very grumpy for not being able to get a quick free fix for whatever illness they have got. I don’t understand.
In Indonesia, we would die for that kind of service.
President Joko Widodo has tried when he was the mayor of Solo and governor of Jakarta, a free healthcare system called Kartu Sehat or Health Card. It is not for everyone, yet, because for a start only the poorest of the poor that can access that service.
However, it was not socialised quite well. People don’t understand that they need to go to a local clinic to get referred to a hospital so that they could use the Health Card. Instead, people went directly to the hospital, asking for a free healthcare, while the hospital knew no shit about what’s going on. In the end, many cynic saw this embryo of a proper healthcare system as a failing system, and tried so hard to abort the embryo.
I can imagine if all social elements in Indonesia support this Health Card system, it should work. My mother taught her factory workers to employ the Health Card to get them and their baby’s health checked. It worked. It should work anywhere in Indonesia too. Imagine that this little healthcare program could be applied all over Indonesia? One day we could get a free healthcare system for everyone.
Would it kill private practice?
Don’t be stupid.
Doctor is needed anywhere. There are private doctors and nurses in the UK, and they are still earning. NHS would not kill private hospital, but it gives the poor their rights to be treated with a standardised medical practice.