One of my photos


September 24th, 2007 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · 2 Comments · Politics

Today’s Guardian G2 feature about the film Sicko was a bit of a gimmick, but interesting even so. They took 16 NHS workers to see the film about the US healthcare system and then asked them what they thought of it, and what they thought about the NHS.

Two themes emerged. Neither was really surprising , but both stand repeating and emphasizing.

Firstly, nearly all the 16 were totally committed to the fundamental principle of the NHS being free at the point of deliver, and for all its faults far preferable to the American system. The exception was an American who thought the NHS is unsustainable.

The other point is made just by looking at the names of the people: Karim Ahmed (A&E Registrar), Zhaleh Kaleeli (Researcher), Muna Ahmed (Clinical Genetics Specialist), Haseena Iqbal (GP), Shazia Jalali (GP), Ehsan Khondaker (GP), Nikos Gorgoraptis (Junior Doctor). Something to remember when the BNP talk about removing immigrants from the health service, or when others talk about shutting the doors and keeping foreigners out.

Not only are all these ‘foreigners’ (with a fair proportion of Muslim names) keeping the health service running, but they are passionate about the idea of universal healthcare provision. Isn’t that enough of an adoption of ‘British values’ for anyone?

Bear it in mind next month when the BNP stand in a by-election in Horsham with their usual calls to get rid of immigrants alongside claims that they would improve the NHS. The two things are mutually incompatible.

Anyone who agrees strongly and wants to help out with campaigning against the BNP in the Crawley/Horsham/Reigate-ish area, and specifically Holbrook West next month, can come along to a local UAF meeting in Crawley next week (details at or just come along to help deliver or hand out leaflets (drop me a line).

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • skud's sister

    A very interesting article – I was amazed (although on reflection I’m not sure why) to read that the USA was ranked something like 57th in the world for healthcare. As for the background of the workers themselves, we have good courses here at Bradford for Pharmacy, Optometry, Nursing and other medical related subjects – large amounts of the students are BME. They are not just from the immediate area, many are from Africa, Europe & the Americas, and, although some will be taking their degrees back home, many will be repaying our (sometimes dubious) hospitality by working long hours for modest wages and getting abused by a certain segment of society into the bargain. And, as overseas students, they will have been paying full fees and helping to pay for the education of all the UK & EU students. B*stards.

  • Skuds

    IS the US system a bit of a Little Miss Muffett system – when it is good it is very, very good but if you don’t have a lot of money its rotten?

    The rank will be based on overall performance or outcomes I guess. We might have a distorted image of it because we only see the good bits. The Americans we come across over or while travelling in Europe here will, almost by definition, be the better-off ones, and even when we visit America we tend not to hang around in the worse areas.

    Not deliberately anyway. There was that time I got lost in Florida. And that time I got lost in LA. And that time we walked a few blocks too far across town in New York.