Friday, December 10, 2004

Today has been proof that despite our cynical attitude towards public services they really can come together. I’ve been getting pains in my teeth for a while now and a Christmas party in Norwich really set them off. All night I was up with the pain and no amount of pain killers worked. Both Louise and I had a really bad time (me in pain, her having to listen to me in pain.)

This morning I phoned a dentist ho advertises in the EDP – no appointment for another 2 weeks. No good with me still on the verge of exploding with pain. So I call NHS Direct who put me onto emergency walk-in dentists found on the old West Norwich hospital site on the Bowthorpe Road. Sure enough, an appointment was made for 10o’clock this morning. Even better I was in the dentist’s chair by 10.05. I needed to have one tooth out, one cleaned up and a filling. It took all in all no more than half an hour. The cost? Just £27 – a really acceptable price to pay for the work and stopping my agony.

Still being in some discomfort I wasn’t looking forward to the journey home, but I stepped out of the dentists, crossed the road, and caught the No.21 straight away, which dropped me back outside my home in Bowthorpe. Fantastic service.

Politicians don’t say it enough, but when push comes to shove our public services can and do work. They worked for me today and I’m sure they work for thousands of people everyday. The thought going through my mind on the way was why such services can have problems. It isn’t the professionals who work in them – they were top quality the whole way through. It must be the politicians.

Labour had better take note (and the Tories for that matter) – public services run better without us. Freedom and choice make the public services better not Whitehall led “reform”.

So let me say this loud and clear: Thank You, NHS.

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