Let’s stuff our faces and do the NHS a favour
- Credit: PA
Opinion: Sharon Griffiths has a simple solution to the NHS' woes... hasn't she?
We're living longer than ever – 100 is nothing unusual these days – yet we're also apparently unhealthier than ever before.
No, I don't understand that, either.
Maybe we're just hanging on in there but in dreadful physical shape. Not much fun.
Whatever, it means that the NHS is struggling. What do they want us to do – die young and save them the bother and expense? I bet some bean counters are tempted…
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There are too many people with too many illnesses requiring too much attention for too many years. Senior doctors are already forecasting thousands more cancelled operations this winter and total meltdown if we get a major flu epidemic.
That's not even counting the likes of the idiot I once met in A&E in the early hours of the morning, complaining that he had a right - at 4am - to see a doctor about his sore throat. The way he was shouting and swearing his throat couldn't have been all that sore…
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We need to take more responsibility for our own health and fitness. That would be a good thing, no? No. Not according to a GP I met recently. 'All these 60- and 70-somethings wanting new knees and hips so they can carry on cycling, ski-ing or climb Kilimanjaro,' he grumbled. Does he still expect people to sit quietly by the fireside and just fade away?
Many older people who are physically fairly fit are mentally fragile. Estimates say that 1.2 million people are chronically lonely and can, literally, lose the will to live. Last month the Guides launched a badge to help tackle loneliness in old people. A great start, but still just a drop in the ocean.
Of course we should take much better care of ourselves so we stay fit and healthy as we stride purposefully and independently into old age, even with new knees. We should also cultivate the knack of making friends, keep in touch, make the first move to visit, write, email or phone and not turn ourselves into victims or deserving causes, however old we are.
Meanwhile, a report last week said one in ten children in this country is now obese. Doesn't bode well.
Or maybe it does. The fuss people are making about having to look after these old people – 'bed blocker ' is not a compliment - maybe it would be better if we all stuffed ourselves with junk food, took no exercise, smoked or drank to excess – thus giving the government a massive wodge of taxes – and then keeled over suddenly and prematurely without getting our share of our taxes back or costing the NHS much at all.
At least it would be cost-effective.