Wednesday, 12 August 2009

#welovethenhs

Much as I would love to blog about all sorts of things today, I didn't get in till 10pm and have got a busy day - in fact a very busy five or six days - ahead of me. Obviously lots of things going on, with the Alan Duncan and the Daniel Hannan/ US politicians/ Stephen Hawking NHS stuff.

I think today might be the day Twitter really proved its worth as a political communications tool, with #welovethenhs the top trending topic and people tweeting all day with positive personal experiences of using the NHS and a political defence of a national health service that is free at the point of need to all who need it. And Americans joining in too, and Professor Hawking and the Secretary of State for Health. It's the beauty of Twitter, that it's so immediate a form of communication. In the old days Andy would have had a press officer drafting a press release, running it past him, amending it, sending it out - now he just tweets!

One of the problems Labour has had over the years, which has been identified in focus groups, polling, and on the doorstep, is that people by and large have had good experiences of the NHS. But because negative issues dominate the headlines, such as MRSA or a tragic misdiagnosis, or NICE refusing to recommend a cancer drug, people don't think of their experience of the NHS as typical. They say positive things but then say, 'but I've been lucky'. So it's great to have a day when people are tweeting and retweeting their appreciation of the NHS, and recognising that it's not just them - it's all of us who are lucky to have it.

3 comments:

David Love said...

I think the NHS is a bit like a reasonable marriage: one may complain from time to time about the spouse but could never manage being with anyone else...

and of course, for many of us both marriage and the NHS are an even better experience, hence we love the NHS - and I love my wife.

See also the mainly positive comments at the Guardian.

camelglasses said...

Absolutely,

The fact that people can express their passion for our public health system with a #hashtag or a Twibbon (http://twibbon.com/join/welovethenhs) conveniently and quickly is brilliant. And, incidentally, quite heart-warming.

The Boiling Frog said...

My wife has MS, which is getting progressively worse, so we are regular uses of the NHS and the level of care my wife receives on every occasion has been nothing short of excellent.

There are a few problems we encounter, mostly due to the inevitable bureaucracy of an unwieldy institution like the NHS, but this is small price to pay for the (probably) expensive treatment and care that would privately bankrupt us.

The NHS is not perfect, far from it, but if given the choice between the American model of health care and the British one, I know which one I would choose every time.