I have a dream.
It’s some years into the future and I’m watching television and the continuity announcer is appropriately enough continuing to announce the evening’s schedules. ‘And now’ he says, ‘it’s the Antiques Roadshow which this week comes to us from Westminster Hall’.
Minutes later I watch as the current Secretary of State for Health as he carefully carries an item wrapped up in an old blanket and slowly places it on the table that stands in front of the show’s relics expert. After briefly looking at the mysterious object, she picks it up and proceeds to make her careful examination. Anxiously the one in whose care it has resided waits, eager to know just what it is that he has brought with him. And, of course, what it might be worth.
The expert turns the battered curiosity over and notices four numbers engraved into its base. These are instantly recognised as the year in which the artefact was crafted.
‘1948’, the expert begins, smiling to herself, confident now of what it is she’s looking act. ‘What we have here is a very fine example of what used to be a National Health Service. And what a unique example it is, perhaps the only one of its kind.’ After silently turning it over in her hands for a few minutes the expert eventually continues. ‘It really is a beautiful piece, or at least it was once. It’s clearly long since seen better days and has now lost much of the shine it once possessed’
Overcome by the tatty condition of the once elegant structure she is holding, the expert is temporarily lost for words but soon is able to regain her composure. She begins to point out the numerous places where damage has been sustained. A crack here, a missing piece there and an overall instability that renders the whole thing inherently unstable.
Her assessment complete she finally looks up at the one who had handed it over to her for inspection. ‘This is one of the most remarkable items that I’ve ever seen. In its day it was very highly prized and would have been greatly sought after by everyone. How did it come into your possession?’ she asks.
‘It was handed down to me by my predecessor who had himself received it from his predecessor. I don’t think any of us realised it was anything of any value and so none of us have really taken much care of it.’ The Secretary of State pauses for a moment before asking the only thing that he was ever really concerned about. ‘Not that I’d ever sell it you understand, but could you give me any indication of just how much it might be worth?’
‘Undoubtedly if it had been looked after rather better and was still in good condition what you have here would have been priceless. But now…’ The expert stops and looks sadly down at the item as she places it back down on the table. Then, looking up again, she fixes her eyes on its guardian before delivering her verdict. ‘Now, in its current state, I’m afraid it’s hardly worth anything at all. Having not bothered with it all these years its now not even worth getting it insured. It’s such a shame, If only you’d all taken better care of it in the past’.
And with that an elderly Fiona Bruce closes the programme and the end credits roll a little too fast such that im unable to make out the year the programme was produced.
And then I wake up to the state of the NHS. And I wonder if anyone else will too.
To read ‘Mr McGregor’s Revenge – A Tale of Peter Rabbit’, click here
To read ‘A GP called Paddington’, click here
To read ‘Bagpuss and the NHS’, click here
To read ‘Mr Benn – the GP’, click here
To read ‘Jeepy Leepy and the NHS’, click here
To read ‘The Three Little GPs and the Big Bad Secretary of State for Health’, click here
To read ‘Dr Wordle and the Mystery Diagnosis’, click here
To read ‘The Happy Practice – A Cautionary Tale’, click here
To read ‘The Scrooge Chronicles’, click here
To read ‘Jeeves and the Hormone Deficiency’, click here
To read ‘General Practices are Go!’, click here
To read ‘A Mission Impossible’, click here
To read ‘A Grimm Tale’, click here
To read ‘The General Practitioner – Endangered’, click here
To read ‘The Repair Shop’, click here
To read ‘The State of Disrepair Shop’, click here