A Good Friend Of Mine

I have had this friend essentially all my life.  We go back a long way, I’m a bit younger.  We both have Welsh roots.  Our paths have crossed in a variety of ways over the years but we’ve never for example worked together.

In my early years, my friend was always there for me, even on occasions when I wasn’t aware of the fact.  As I grew older, went through school, ‘O’ levels, ‘A’ levels, moved away for my degree, I did as every teenager did – became more independent, more self-absorbed and took things for granted.  My friend didn’t mind.  Still there in the wings, Mum and Dad and my friend got together frequently as my friend was eminently suited to bridging the generation gap.

I started off in work and visited my friend more frequently.  I became more reliant on my friend, suffering a loss of confidence and culture shock that my friend guided me through, supported me and was ultimately responsible for my improvement.  I am aware of that reliance, of the support I was given and of the unstinting loyalty of my friend throughout that period.

In the last decade, my friend and I have spent a lot of time together.  I have two children and both have been introduced to my friend, blissfully unaware of how much they actually owe my friend.  I hope that one day they get to know my friend, not in the way I did, but in a way that although my friend is there, my friend is a friend to them as well and that they need a friend like that from cradle to grave, free at point of contact and according to need.

My friend is the NHS and I would be lying if I were to say that I am not in tears once again at the thought of what my friend, my NHS, has done for me and mine, older, younger, in need or not.

My friend, my NHS now needs our support and help.  Under attack from the self-interest and greed of millionaires who think we should have different friends and we should pay them for the introduction and privilege, the knives are out to see off my friend, my NHS.

We can’t let that happen.  Everyone needs that friend, even when they don’t.

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