What are we living longer for?

What are we “living longer” for?
A few years more of being poor
To reach an age of destitution,
Helpless in dependency?

To be neglected; disrespected?
Sitting in the same old chair
In mean and squalid institutions,
Half aware, not really there?

Or, horror! With a lucid mind,
Enduring time and yet more time
To witness co-invented wars;
To weep at wasted brain and brawn?

Our social fabric worn and torn
To mourn lost generations born
Onto a scrapheap, harshly built
By systematic, alternating turns
Of greed and guilt.

[From February, 2013]

 

She said:

“I’m glad I am the age I am,” she said.
“I’m grateful that the road behind
Is longer than my road ahead,
For all I see is war and fear
And grasping greed by grubby hands:
The dark night of the Soul of Man
Enveloping all creeds and lands.

“There’s poison in the hearts of men,” she said.
“An undiluted self-belief and blinding faith
Casts bloody shadows, hollows Hope
And spreads an everlasting hate
Which fashions cold and steals Life’s hallowed Grace.

“There is a madness in the minds of men,
Whose messianic propagations bend
The Golden Bough and fray the sacred threads,
Which then, in haste, they darn with fœtid patches
Lest the Light be glimpsed –
The Truth lies in the gaps,” she said.

[From January, 2013]

Don’t get old‘ – Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian, December 2016

GPs

Dear Cons,

Re: ‘GPs’ leader hits out at plans for seven-day surgeries‘ (BBC)

I need my GP to be a doctor of medicine, not a bureaucrat; not an accountant; not a glorified admin clerk. I do not need to feel like I’m an inconvenient glitch on a production line because my doctor feels like a rushed frontline workhorse. I want my GP to be well-trained, well-qualified, patient and empathic. I need him or her to have the time and space to be able to concentrate on being a sensible, enthusiastic and compassionate advocate for and minister to my best health. I want to be able to see the same GP insofar as it is possible and reasonable so that a relationship can be established, thereby promoting confidence and a continuity of care. I want my doctor to be well-remunerated and respected and to be deserving of both. I need a doctor whose working conditions are conducive to his or her own well-being. I do not need my GP to be so overwhelmed, overworked and stressed out that his or her own health, professional standards and judgement are compromised. And I need my family doctor to be easily accessible because the practice is nearby and open and because it is adequately funded and staffed. I do not want my GP surgery to be under constant threat of breakdown because of its inability to retain more than a skeleton locum staff or because of the ignorant politicking, privatising and weaponising of capricious or incompetent government ministers.

And if you think my sentiments only extend to my family doctor and not to all public servants, you are gravely mistaken. They apply to all medical staff, cleaners, paramedics, firemen, teachers, social workers, policemen, community care workers, coastguards, soldiers…

Regards,

Probably not just me.

But you were a great time, NHS

For the love of an institution
Cameron ablutes
Grooms by insincere oblations

Prowling with his airbrush

Lothario
Claims his muse
With effusive art
His heart
All sweeping proclamations
Of flattering attention

No mention
The fleeting passion of gratuitous gain
And one-way satisfaction stains
But you were a great time, NHS
He’s recommended you as game
To all his lusty friends who queue
In quest to love you just the same

Love the NHS

I love the NHS for, at its best,

It’s mother’s care expressed

As comfort to distress by pain

And sickness suffered;

Seeks no gain but succour for the

Ills of brain and body through its deft

And healing hands;

For every year I spend

Upon this land:

Calms fears, dries tears

And mends.

From volunteer to high-paid surgeon,

Public servants,

Ever best,

Are pressured to do more with less

By greedy leaders who,

Like dirty scalpels,

Leave them bleeding

From the wounds of profit’s mess.

I grieve to see my country’s wealth

Reflected by such poorly health

For lack of wisdom and respect

For my beloved NHS.