This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

GPs go forth

I have a dream

Dr Shaba Nabi

dr shaba nabi duo 1440x960px

Just three score and 10 years ago, the great Nye Bevan, in whose shadow the NHS stands today, announced the National Health Service Act of 1946. This act was a beacon of light to working people who were too poor to afford health, protecting them from destitution.

But 70 years later, the poor are still sick and needy; 70 years later a life in poverty is crippled by ill health, substance misuse and premature death.

So, we’ve come to our secretary of state to cash a cheque. When Bevan set up the NHS he stated: ‘No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.’

It is obvious today that Jeremy Hunt has defaulted on this obligation to remain a civilised society, as the gap between rich and poor widens.

One day we will live out the true meaning of the NHS – that all are created equal in health

But we refuse to believe the bank of health is bankrupt. We refuse to believe there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of global capitalism. We have come to cash this cheque and claim what is rightfully ours through taxes.

We must come together as a nation to remind the state of the fierce urgency of Now. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of privatisation to the sunlit path of nationalisation.

It will be fatal for GPs to overlook the urgency of the moment. The year 2018 cannot be the end – it must be the beginning.

There are those who ask the devotees of the NHS: ‘When will you be satisfied?’

We can never be satisfied until we end the 10-year mortality gap between rich and poor. We cannot be satisfied until all those with mental health issues are seen in a timely way. We are not satisfied until our elders are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

I say to you today, even though we face these difficulties, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the great British dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of the NHS – that all men and women are created equal in health.

I have a dream that one day there will be enough GPs to provide holistic care within 20-minute appointments, to foster personal responsibility in patients.

I have a dream that GPs will be supported by a team of healthcare professionals who work autonomously and carry risk.

I have a dream that vexatious complaints and litigation will be replaced by a no-fault compensation scheme, and doctors will no longer face manslaughter charges.

And if Britain is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let good health ring from the peaks of the Scottish Highlands. Let good health ring from the valleys of Wales. Let good health ring from the rugged coast of Northern Ireland. And let good health ring from each and every muddy field of England.

When this happens and we allow good health to prevail, all doctors, healthcare professionals and patients, rich and poor, can stand together and state: ‘We are equal. We are equal at last.’

Inspired by Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech

Dr Shaba Nabi is a GP trainer in Bristol


Related images

  • dr shaba nabi duo 1440x960px

Rate this article  (3.7 average user rating)

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (14)

  • Vinci Ho

    It is a judgement call at this 70th birthday of whether we want our NHS with its gatekeeper to not just survive but shine again . We are at crossroad as a nation , not just for our health service but for our values , virtures and hence , a country for others to look up to in this most extraordinary time in history where protectionism, self interest and greed are dominating the world .
    One can argue that it is something called ‘circle of life’ ; something has to die before another is born. But there are certain legacies that should never wither ......

    ‘’Is morality a matter of counting lives and weighting costs and benefits , or are certain moral and human rights are so fundamental that they rise above such calculations?’’
    Michael J Sandel Justice

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • National Hopeless Service

    I have a dream; Retirement and a move to France where the healthcare is a functional co-payment system.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What use is more money when it goes to managers, unnecessary elective treatments, poorly-evidenced projects like personal health budgets, even arguably failed projects like the methadone program, or non-medically-indicated treatments like religious circumcision. The NHS was set up for NEEDS only. You want to reduce the 10 yr mortality gap between rich and poor? Minimise socialist policies and government intervention in all levels of society

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • A colourful Dream but a Dream nevertheless.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • AlanAlmond

    It’s good to dream, it tells you where you want to go. But after the dream comes hard rational thought, planning and sensible decision making. We have plenty of dreamers when it comes to the NHS but are sadly lacking in those who propose sensible rational solutions. I don’t think the problems facing the NHS are anything other than entirely fixable. We need real solutions from those who administrate, and we aren’t getting them. We need sensible proportionate funding for primary care. We need policy to be directed by evidence and not political vanity. This is certainly achievable. But are we as a country up to the task? Looking around at popular culture and the politicians we produce I sometimes doubt it. But when I go to bed at night I dream like everyone else, there is always hope.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I have a dream:
    That this nightmare will end

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nothing that is 'free'(@125 Billion/year) can be discernibly appreciated by the vast majority.
    In reality it does'nt take much to alter behaviour if the cause and effect is obvious.
    5p plastic bag anyone ?,I'd sooner take my own wheelbarrow to the shop.
    In the meantime dream on- because the will be no tangible outcome and more of Our money will be wasted.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • AlanAlmond

    ‘5p plastic bag anyone ?,I'd sooner take my own wheelbarrow to the shop.’
    Hilarious! I almost fell off my chair. Nice one

    I recon £2.50 for a GP appointment would probably reduce unnecessary appointments by 50%. I worked that out on the back of my fag packet but that cost me about £10 so I recon £2:50 would even be acceptable to the ‘i cant exist without my fags’ brigade if they have a guenuine bonefidie fungal nail emergency.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I have a dream. I just don’t have a union, or one that isn’t a complete shower of sh@&t#

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • All the people who once cared and were attacked by HMG through stupid contracts and Steve Field and his instruments of torture ( I include myself in this)
    Now do not care whether the system survives or not.
    Or provide work for goodwill to the system
    And negotiate commercial contracts for ourselves.

    So it’s finished

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page

Have your say