The NHS is under a lot of stran. There isn’t an unlimited pot of money and whether it or not, cuts have to be made. One thing that is not going to help is people abusing the system under the Minor Ailments Scheme.
This scheme was set up a while ago to encourage people to seek advice from a pharmacist for minor ailments such as coughs, colds, hayfever, insect bites etc rather than take up a valuable GP appointment. Don’t get me wrong – if you’re worried about something, especially when it comes to the kids, you should always get it checked. However, I do know of a parent that rushes their otherwise healthy child to the doctors or the hospital every time they have a cough, cold or upset tummy. She can’t understand why she isn’t sent home with medication for them, and moans when she can’t get appointments for things that really do need a doctor. Jeez, if I took the kids to the doctors every time one of them was under the weather, we’d be there every day. It’s only Wednesday and so far this week all three kids have snot dripping from their noses, coughs like a 20 a day smoker, we’ve had some pretty dodgy nappies and puke. It’s all down to having a cold, and I’m not worried. If I was, the first place I would go to is the pharmacy, who would tell me to keep them hydrated and give them Calpol or the like to keep any temperatures down and make them feel a bit more comfortable. This is what the minor ailments scheme is for. However, under this scheme I’d also be entitled to get calpol, head lice lotion, hayfever medicine, plasters and various other over the counter medication. This scheme has gone viral over Facebook in the last week or so, which I think is really irresponsible. I’ve seen people comment saying things like ‘I’ll be heading to Boots to stock up this week’. I can’t imagine the pharmacy would give out more than one bottle at a time, but if every single person with a child does this, can you imagine how many bottles of calpol and how many packets of plasters would be given out – for free?
Yes, we all want to save a few quid here and there, but you saving £3 on a bottle of calpol and 30p on a pack of plasters costs someone else – the NHS. I’ve heard varying amounts of how much it costs them, but whatever it is, it still costs them. That money has to come from somewhere, whether it’s another department in the NHS or even something totally different, such as the education or the defense budget. Wherever it comes from, it’s going to affect you and your kids.
Imagine if in a couple of years they need to make cuts on some life saving treatment in order to pay for all the bottles of free calpol and plasters? People aren’t going to be very happy! Calpol costs about £3 in the supermarket, less for an own brand which is identical. If you have children, you are responsible for making sure you have what they need, and that includes things like this. Don’t leave it until you’ve ran out and skint to get some – add it to your shopping list when you know you’re coming to the end of a packet or bottle.
Please, please, please, before you share that status, before you run to the pharmacy to stock up on over the counter medication, have a think. Do you need it? Can you buy it yourself? Don’t abuse the NHS. It is there for people who really need it, not to stock up your medicine cupboard.