Messy Business

Health lessons all the way from Gaston County Jail

Is the Health and Social Care Bill a once in a life time opportunity to put doctors in charge of the NHS, or the beginning of the privatisation of our national treasure?

I’m not going to pretend to have the answer. But certainly there are plenty of people at the BMA and NHSCA who believe it’s the latter.

If we are indeed taking a significant step towards a more US-styled system, there was a pertinent message in the plight of James Verone.

Unemployed American Verone got fed up with being unable to afford treatment for a slipped disc, arthritis and a growth on his chest.

His solution – rob a bank. But far from demanding a vast sum from the cashier he only asked for one dollar. Then instead of hot footing it away he just sat down in the corner and awaited the police.

He’d already sent a letter to the local paper, the Gaston Gazette, saying: “When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind but not so much sound body.”

Verone was sent to Gaston County Jail and was happy to arrive. Why? Because he achieved his aim – free healthcare courtesy of the prison system.

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