Today I was reminded why I LOVE THE NHS…
Since I had eye laser surgery back in 2000, I have had perfect vision, but occasionally suffer from sore and often red eyes. I attributed this to dryness and time in front of the computer, but it was a small price to pay, and easily manageable with eye drops.
However, recently I’ve noticed it getting worse and so started to review options.
When I was in California, I visited a state of the art eye clinic that resembled the one in ‘Nip/Tuck’. The beautiful staff, with perfect teeth, perfect hair and perfect tans treated me like a rock-star as they ushered me in for my consultation.
“Hey, Marcus. This is a common problem caused my radiation from computer screen, damage from the environment and the sun,” said the ridiculously handsome doctor.
“It’s easily resolved, we’ll just cut out your sclera – the whites of your eyes – and then after a few weeks new ones will grow back as white and healthy as the day you were born. It’s so easy – I don’t even need to look at anything else. It takes 20 minutes, and I do it all the time.”
The doctor was confident, and explained to me that all his staff had had it done, and showed me pictures of celebrities that he had treated.
“That seems drastic!” I said, but the assured me it was the only solution.”
“It’s $5500 per eye – a great investment. Let’s book you in.”
I got an appointment scheduled for later in the year, but couldn’t help feeling that it just wasn’t quite right…
Today I went to Moorfields Eye Hospital, the world-renowned medical centre in the slightly decaying Victorian building in Old Street.
The place was full of people in various states of distress, there were leaks and exposed pipes, some of the staff looked like they had escaped from a refugee camp, and it was just like the set of some BBC medical drama.
The Triage Nurse and Sister saw me pretty quickly, but I waited three hours to see the very delightful doctor, who was harassed and clearly overworked, but pleasant all the same. The treatment area was a shambles, and it was clear that they needed better facilities, but they level of care and attention was outstanding.
She gave me a very through examination, checking everything including my sight (still 20/20), pressure and general health.
“There’s nothing wrong with your eyes – they are fine. You just have naturally well-oiled skin and your eyelids need to be cleaned regularly to stop the oil inflaming your eyes and causing redness and dryness. Take these drops for two weeks and you’ll be fine – and buy some of this stuff from Boots to clean them.”
I cleaned my eyelids tonight as she directed, and as described in the tatty photocopied leaflet she gave me, and my eyes feel better already.
Having researched on the Internet, my complaint is pretty common, and never needs surgical intervention.
Doctors should NEVER operate with a profit motive.
God bless the NHS and EVERYONE who works there – we must do everything in our power to protect it and nurture it so that we never have a system where money is a motivating factor.
It’s not perfect, but the NHS is a national treasure, and we must remember to treasure it, and respect the people who work there.
The fact that we live in a country where everyone has access to a high level of service and is attended by people who care regardless of their income, status or education is something to be cherished.
A special salute to my friends working there like Bethany, Hannah and Naomi – angels indeed.
Thank you for listening.