Sometimes our lives are about hospitals. They suddenly become about hospitals too – if your own or someone else’s illness comes out of the blue. For Celie and Ab this was emphatically true. Hours and hours by bedsides, sat in serried rows in waiting rooms, being trollied and wheeled down corridors for ops, tests and X-Rays.
And apologies for the old-fartish tone, but in the 60s and 70s – the time when this cartoon was drawn – the NHS had a different, a better, culture. Look, you could actually give someone flowers! You could sit on the bed, I seem to recall, without being scolded. Whether it was explicit or not, there was a sense that the patient and her family’s whole well-being was important, so staff and family worked together to do a thing that was called lifting the spirits. Now, it’s like taking a car in for a service, with that nagging feeling that if you’ve got an old banger, patching it up when its on its last legs is a time-wasting delay of the inevitable.
But then, of course,in the 1960s the NHS was run by Hattie Jaques and we won’t see her like again.