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Let's celebrate all that we can!

PUBLISHED: 15:57 16 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:55 13 July 2010

BOTHER Beijing - I just can't get excited about the Olympics this summer.

Far more thrilling for me is that this week, at last, after a wait of 15 months - my daughter got to see an NHS orthodontist, right here in north Norfolk.

BOTHER Beijing - I just can't get excited about the Olympics this summer.

Far more thrilling for me is that this week, at last, after a wait of 15 months - my daughter got to see an NHS orthodontist, right here in north Norfolk.

At the time of writing all my family are lucky enough still to be registered with an NHS dentist.

I sound that note of caution because I know of folk in north Norfolk who opened their post one morning to find, out of the blue, a “We've gone private - take it or leave it,” letter from their practice.

I wildly guess that at some time nine out of 10 of you reading this will have had reason to be grateful to the NHS on your own, or a loved one's, behalf.

For all our despair at its constant reorganisation, weighty bureaucracy, inefficiency, waste and failings, our NHS is still a model of quality, democracy and humanity because the vast majority of the medical staff working within it are very good at what they do, and are doing it for all the right reasons.

Not so sure that China can boast about democracy or humanity.

Neither am I confident that any medals won at the games won't have to be returned a few months later when the next drug exposé uncovers another terracotta army's-worth of cheats.

I've been reading Our Hidden Lives, extracts from the Mass Observation diaries kept by ordinary people just after the second world war, and found this entry by Herbert Brush, dated February 19 1948: “I hope that the doctors won't give in to Bevan (Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health), as I don't believe that a state-controlled medical service would ever be of benefit to the public as a whole; no patient would get individual service from a doctor who was not paid by the patient to the same extent as they do now.”

How wrong you were Herbert.

Forget waving the red, white and blue on August 8, the day of the Olympics opening ceremony. Save all that proud patriotism for July 5, the 60th birthday of our gold-medal NHS.

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