Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Reforming health and benefits

A woman walks into her local pharmacy to get a prescription. She had managed, after ringing continuously for hours, to finally get an appointment with her doctor - but only by promising it was an absolute emergency.

The doctor diagnoses laryngitis and grudgingly gives the woman a prescription for antibiotics. Although the doctor advises against actively taking these prescribed drugs.
It's now late afternoon and the pharmacy is busy with Mums and kids; so the woman joins a short queue of people waiting at the counter.

A younger lady - probably 18 or 19 - comes in and pushes to the front of the queue and says to the pharmacist [this works best if you say out loud adopting a Vicky Pollard style accent]:

“So right, the doctor has given me this prescription right - he says I have been going out too much though but I NEED to go out though don't I though? I mean, what would I do if I didn't go out. I'd go out of my head wouldn't I? He says my headaches, I get headaches don't I though, are from going out too much isn't it though, right? Anyway, he gave me this prescription for paracetamol didn't he and I ain't going to stop going out. So, give me my paracetamol can you?"

What an indictment of our current health and benefit system when someone can take up hundreds of pounds worth of a doctors time, get a free prescription which currently costs those of us that pay £7.40, just to get a packet of paracetamol anyone can buy for just 30p.

The rows over the processes of the NHS and the proposed checks on those who claim benefits neglect to report one thing: that too many in society expect to get everything for nothing and so value very little. If that view can somehow be altered, we would see a reform that would be very far reaching and beneficial indeed.

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