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Swine flu will test us but we need to support NHS principles of free, quality care for all

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Swine flu will test us but we need to support NHS principles of free, quality care for all

John Timmons
31 August 2009

Early in 2008, my editorial discussed the American’s fear of having a state run National Health Service (Timmons, 2008). The republican voters were aware that both Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton would have pushed for such a service to be implemented, and now it would appear that this may become a reality. Adding fuel to the fire was one of our own politicians, who felt it necessary to dismiss the NHS as a dinosaur which is no longer fit for purpose. Not only is this factually incorrect, but it betrays the trust of the people of Britain and, in particular, the huge numbers of dedicated staff who work for the NHS. My first reaction was to think about the many people who have received life-saving treatments such as chemotherapy, given not because of their ability to pay, but because it was the best possible available treatment. Similarly, trauma patients who require life-saving emergency care are not first questioned about how much care they can afford, and the choices made by clinicians are not clouded by financial concerns.

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