An Open Letter To The NHSDear NHS,

You are a national institution like Bruce Forsyth, getting knocked out of the world cup, rainy days and fish and chips – only better.

You have just become a pensioner of sorts and had your 65th birthday and we watched you wearily blow out the candles in the midst of one disaster after another with the vultures circling, looking to slice you up and make millions from yours and your patients sickness.

That’s the kind of world we live in now- a world where misfortune and sickness is purely for profit.

Since before I was born it had been a sign of the highest form of civilisation that I was living in a country where we actually might want to look after each other instead of having an unseemly scramble for the rich to get the best service and everyone else to get fucked, and that was down to you, NHS. It was one of those things that made you proud to be British and astonished at the meanness of countries like the USA where people being ill is good business.

The Tories once sang We’re all In It together at us from their PR edited hymn sheet- they looked at us with their caring eyes and told us how we would all share this debt, but now it looks like they will be in the hospital and we will be selling everything we own to get through the front doors of the place.

But this should not even be a political thing, it’s a moral thing.

The NHS is in deep trouble and it’s getting played out in the media and in election campaign circles.

Right in front of our eyes the campaign to wrestle you from our affections is happening NHS, of course there are some really bad problems going on- the situation is the worst I can remember with reported deaths, fuck ups and disasters on a daily basis- these are the fault of a lack of investment, dodgy management and a lack of will to make it all work.

As I sit here in my decadent rock ‘n’ roll world I’m constantly in awe of the over worked nurses and workers in the hospitals and when I’ve had to go to hospital for broken bones it moves me to tears the amount of care and service you get from people getting shat on and working to the bone on the front line and then having to put up with this onslaught of the media slagging them off from corpulent agendas armed with laptops.

It’s getting quite revolting.

So it’s come to this, the one thing that’s truly put the great into Great Britain is being used as a political, point scoring football and you, NHS, are being used by gimlet eyed political wonks and the Daily Mail to score points.

It’s like Marie Antoinette and her famous ‘let them eat cake’ utterance amped up in the 21st century to  ‘let the patients die whilst we look at the polls.’

It’s the most cynical piece of electioneering I’ve ever seen- sick and desperate freaks using the sick and dying to crush the opposition, fiddling whilst Rome burns or just fiddling almost cheering every hospital with a problem in the rush for power and opening up another wound in the darkest and most desperate looking upcoming election ever.

Look, of course the NHS is in crisis, the Daily Mail says it every day- and they really do care about these kind of things don’t they? They really seem to have it in for you NHS- everyone has a problem with you and no one has a solution.

As someone once said, one of the worst things about hospitals is that they are full of ill people- add to that severe under funding, overworked staff, cutbacks and creeping privatisation (with ambulances already getting sort of privatised and other chunks of the NHS already getting sold off..) and you have a recipe for disaster. Of course we all kind of know the score don’t we dear NHS? You will get run down, battered, bruised by the rabid Tory press, demoralised and then, out of the woods, a man in shining armour will arrive- Sir Richard Branson will balloon down from his billion dollar Bahamas retreat and save you for Blighty and himself.

From then on we can pay a few quid for service at the Sire Richard Branson hospital, a staging post  to an American system where the rich get special service and the poor? Well they are scroungers after all and deserve to be left in the road after a car accident.

They say that there’s not enough money to keep the NHS working efficiently, not enough money to keep it going but there never seems to be a problem if the banks need a bail out or if large corporations avoid their taxes – the funds suddenly appear for these people who are working at the opposite end of the moral agenda. Demonise the NHS then privatise it- it’s a dark and sick game.

This greed thing, it’s a sickness and there is no known cure and even the dear old NHS can’t help now.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. a really well written piece, the NHS scandal is sickening, as john points out, there is always plenty of money for certain things, it depends on the list of priorities and despite all the rhetoric from all the parties, the truth is none of them really give a damn about the NHS, if they did care they would divert resources to it, its as simple as that. The hypocrisy of hard right wing columnists such as the ‘daily mail”s simon heffer is breathtaking, wankers like him are desperate to see it privatised so they try and score political points by constantly criticising the very essence of the NHS, something which they have always been opposed to. This shit government of ours, and the ‘new labour’ traitors before will always find money for the biggest scroungers in the country, the royal family but something like the NHS which is desperate for radical overhaul, ie abolition of these ‘trusts’ and a return to the system of the past which seemed to work fine, is denied real funding. The ‘targets’ culture has done untold damage within the NHS as it has done in life/work in general, people are under so much pressure to fulfill these absurd targets, its no wonder they cut corners.The NHS crisis is symptomatic of the general crisis in this country, the appalling perversion of values, the callous disregard for those less well off, the selfish/individual attitudes and the complete abandonment of anything resembling real socialism.We need a political party which is prepared to stand up for the working class and promote genuine human values, instead of these rich, out of touch wankers who’ve never done a days real work in their lives dictating to us how we should live and what kind of country we live in

  2. Dear old NHS? 13,000 people dead. A system choked with bureaucracy. Brave whistleblowers sacked and vilified? Cruel, unaccountable doctors. Nurses who leave old, desperate patients out of reach of food. Out of reach of water. But that’s just a Daily Mail conspiracy, right? It’s not about funding. Health spending more than doubled under Labour. I repeat. It’s not about funding. It’s not about the “rabid Tory press.” Put away your Ben Elton DVD’s, John. Relax. Unlace your Dr. Marten boots.
    But God forbid you get seriously ill at the weekend. When filthy wards are smeared with blood and faeces. When fat cat consultants can’t be bothered to work. When, unless you’re lucky enough to have friends and family there to fight for you, you’re a third more likely to die from lack of care after surgery. It’s utterly heartbreaking. You have no idea. These aren’t mere “fuck ups” John. These are people’s lives. The NHS doesn’t need demonizing. What could anyone possibly say that was worse than the truth? No one wants an American system, and you engage in your own scare mongering by suggesting it’s the only alternative. It isn’t. You defend the indefensible. Shame on you.


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