The most urgent issue in the forthcoming general election is the preservation of our National Health Service. If the NHS is the nearest thing we have in 21st century secular Britain to a National Religion, then Mrs May, the Vicar's daughter, is apostate. Her Governbent is hell bent on carving it up and flogging it off.
If you missed Michael Sheen's speech about Aneurin Bevan, or such documentaries as The End Of The NHS before the election two years ago, watch Julie Hesmondhalgh fka Hayley Cropper declare, '30 days to save our NHS!' or catch yourself up at juniordoctorblog.com.
I've been a heavy user of the NHS since it saved my life in 2011, when a world class team of surgeons in North Bristol amputated my left hand, but managed to save my foot. Their top man, Lead Consultant, Tim Burge, ex-army, pioneered innovative plastic surgery techniques on the battle fields of Bosnia. That's what war is good for.
The NHS kept me quarantined for three months, with my own dedicated nurse, 24 hours a day. I had arrived from India with five varieties of NDM-1; two more than had previously been seen in a British hospital. Its a mutant enzyme that makes bacteria invulnerable to antibiotics. I was carrying super-immune cholera. You're welcome! Never mind my heroic contribution to the annals of microbiology, however, just consider the accommodation cost.
How much d'you reckon a private hospital would charge to implement such extreme infection control procedures? Now consider the potential costs of not containing that infection. My name might now be as well known as Typhoid Mary. Cholera Cronin, that would be me.
The clinical care I received was irreproachable, but there were aspects of my hospital stay that were a bit shit. They were the bits that had been privatised.
I don't just mean the entertainment consoles that are mounted over every bed, with pay-to-view TV and whatnot. You've got to pay to watch telly that's already paid for via the licence on the set back home, which you can't watch because you're banged up in hospital with nothing better to do than look at television. I refused, but my night nurse, Nathan, kindly bought me £10 worth of access over Glastonbury weekend.
Much more importantly, the food was rubbish. FFS, did Hippocrates not say, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food?" That should be clause two of the Hippocratic oath and yet my Consultants knew next to nothing about nutrition. "You are becoming anaemic because of the lack of iron in your vegetarian diet," I was told. "No," I corrected, "I am becoming anaemic due to the complete absence of dark green leafy vegetables in the diet you feed me."
Rather than provide nutritious meals, the NHS dishes out supplements in pill form. They believe in pharmaceutical solutions. "The drugs work," I was told repeatedly, as if it were an article of faith, but no one at the hospital explained how or why. Rather, they continued to offer me Amitriptyline - a 'tricyclic antidepressant' that knocked me out - twice daily after I stopped taking it, for the rest of my stay. I came home with a carrier bag full of drugs and spent a day online learning about them.
Within a couple of months, I weaned myself off all pharmaceutical drugs in favour of cannabis. I made green ghee from the spoil of other people's crops and cooked with it. Rather than risk using addictive opioids with their undesirable side effects, I managed my pain with my own medicine, made from donated plant material. Its side effects - munchies; drowsiness - are pleasurable, too.
So, IMO, the problem of funding the NHS could be solved at a stroke by legalising cannabis. I'm not the only one saying it! Even if we don't follow the example of Colorado, where tax income from legal marijuana sales is directed into funding local schools, legalised cannabis will alleviate pressure upon the NHS, practically overnight. Not only will chronically ill people have immediate access to effective medicine, but alcohol-related casualties will soon start to decline.
None of the major parties agree with me yet, although the Greens and the Liberal Democrats are getting there. Big Pharma and other vested interests who make hefty campaign contributions fear nothing more than legal cannabis. At this election, however, it's them or us.