Whilst reading ‘The Greatest Benefit to Mankind’ by Roy Porter, he spoke of the role of the media being “to raise alarm more than our spirits” in terms of the stories published about the NHS and medicine in general. This got me thinking about the last time I heard something positive about the NHS…I couldn’t think of one. So, today, I decided to assess whether the role of the media in drawing attention to healthcare is constructive or just destructive and to “raise alarm”.

We’ve all seen the articles and the news stories on the NHS crisis and this negative and chaotic impression of the health system is even more stressed during this winter season; from clicking onto the Guardian website, one of the top stories on the NHS page was that 52 NHS hospitals had sent patients elsewhere in their busiest week yet- is it beneficial for us to be talking so negatively about a system which is doing the best it can under funding cuts and resource shotages? What I mean is , we’re all aware that there’s a problem; the extent to which some media outlets speak about our health system seems less to inform us and more to make the threat of impending privatisation a reality, to reduce our morale as a country who have relied on the NHS for 60 years.

Generally, it seems that these days, the media is not just “raising alarm” but crushing “our spirits”- maybe this is the cost of the machine being able to publish whatever they want and to withhold stories that won’t paint the picture of the country or the world that is beneficial to them. Don’t get me wrong, the media can be great but there’s always a cost.

Am I overreacting or should there be a balance of the difficulties and the hope, the perseverance of a staff fighting against the odds to care for the health of a country of 64 million people with a budget that can’t cater for them all?  I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!

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