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Glass half full – optimism amongst the criticism

The NHS, it seems, is underappreciated. In a day and age where the masses often take to Twitter to publicly declare their both their elations and frustrations with our nation’s healthcare service, I fear that the former can often be overshadowed.

Sometimes I can feel beads of sweat forming as I scroll down to the comment box underneath articles online, particularly when they are linked to health-related stories. Of course, I’m thankful that we live in a society that embraces our right to freedom of speech. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop me wincing at some of the awful, derogatory and sometimes hateful comments that people post online.

Despite the media’s portrayal of the NHS though, many people speak very fondly of it. I meet several patients every week who inform me of the ‘first class’ treatment they have received, of the friendly staff and of the efficiency of their care.

Okay, so there is still work to be done. I doubt that many deny it. Yet, whilst negative headlines might sell papers, they do not necessarily reflect the reality of the service. No public service works seamlessly, as I’m sure you’ll agree. So in this season of good will I ask the public to show a little more appreciation for an institution that, despite its imperfections, we would all be at a loss without.

Chantal Cox-George blogs from the perspective of a medical student interested in general practice. Use the hashtag #nextgenerationGP to join in the conversation and follow her @NextgenGP