In 1926 when I was a small lad, my sister Marion contracted TB and died in a workhouse Infirmary because my dad, who had worked as a miner since the age of 12, was too poor to provide medical care for his daughter on a working-class salary. Tragically during my childhood in the early 20th century thousands met their end like Marion.
I can even remember as a boy hearing the piercing cries from open windows on our street of people dying from cancer who didn't have the dosh to buy morphine to ease their passage from life. To this day, I am haunted by the inhumane manner in which my sister's illness was treated or how the Society of my youth believed that only the well-to-do or well-connected deserved medical care.
That is why after the brutality of the Second World War my generation of ordinary People demanded that our nation create the NHS. We knew it was our only hope of making life better for ourselves, our parents and our children.
The people of my generation sacrificed so much during the Great Depression and through the Second World War and the NHS became a peacetime dividend.
The creation of the NHS was also our solemn pledge to future generations that we would be a civilised nation that would treat all citizens as worthy of care and compassion.
The NHS is for me as great as Magna Carta because it's freed millions from the tyranny of sickness and poverty to move forward and lead productive lives.
We must remember that the NHS is as essential to our Nations well-being as the Armed Forces are to protect us from foreign threats. It is why today we ordinary citizens must be vigilant against governments and corporate interests that seek to dilute the NHS's ability to deliver health care to all its citizens through privatisation.
I am one of the last remaining people that can remember the cruelty of life before the NHS, and I can assure you that it is essential for Britain's prosperity and social well-being that my past doesn't become your future.
The above is kindly reproduced from the FOREWARD by Harry Smith from the book: NHS for Sale: Myths, Lies & deception by Jacky Davis, John Lister.
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