A Poem for the NHS


Created in 1948

For the ‘Welfare State’.

Supposedly available to all,

Regardless of wealth

With 3 core principles

To govern our health:

To meets the needs of everyone

Rich, poor, black or white;

Free at the point of use

Without charge, when the time is right;

And based on clinical need

Not the need to pay

But where have these principles gone

When we look at the world today?

If you meet the needs of everyone

Please explain why

Black women are 5 times more likely to die

In childbirth than white women in that position

With nowhere near 5 times the amount of

Pre-existing health conditions?

Why there’s less access to mental health services

For ethnic minorities; instead what they get is this:

Forcible treatment and higher rates of detention

Attempts to close this gap failed and that’s not to mention

There’s no ethnically representative data

Used to train artificial intelligence systems

Machines that can recognise a white person’s skin cancer

When it comes to a black person’s skin—it will miss them

You say free at the point of use

Then WHY are the public paying

For their doctors to be protected

When it’s the government that’s betraying

Run 5k a day, then pay 5 pound

The nation’s 99 year old sweetheart walking laps around

His garden

The NHS is not a charity

It shouldn’t rely on a donation

Clapping is not compensation

For years of continual underfunding

THAT’S why the NHS is crumbling

Because you only untighten your fists at 8pm on a Thursday evening

And then tighten them again

People have not fared well

Under your welfare state

Let’s build. Back. Better.

When the pressure of a pandemic eases

And the doctors that stepped up so bravely

return to their regular places

There will still be years of fallout as the backup of cases

That were put on hold flood in

So let’s make sure that we have the policies that protect our heroic MDs

And close the gap on health inequalities to make the world we want to see

Let’s resurrect our common life

But let’s not go back to what’s conventional

And let’s not lose all the kindness

That has become so intentional.

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