In praise of the NHS and the wonderful pluralist, cosmopolitan, international mix of caring professionals one meets at every turn—a veritable Republic of Heaven

The view from my recovery bed this afternoon
Today I found myself in hospital for a few checks which involved sedation and an invasive "procedure." Naturally, as a minister of religion I often find myself in hospital visiting people which means I've had a lot of practice at being with people facing life and death questions and fears. Without doubt this experience and many years of following Epicurus' (and Lucretius') teachings helped me to approach the day with I hope was genuine equanimity but the truth remains, of course, facing the possibility that one's own end might be nearer than one thought is a different experience. So it was a matter of wonderment and no little joy to me to find that every step of the way through the day I met a wonderful pluralist, cosmopolitan, international mix of caring professionals. Their professionalism, care and good humour made the day move smoothly and entirely without panic and this was a real blessing—it was a real experience of this-worldy grace and gratitude. That the results of my procedure found nothing to worry about was, of course, a real relief and caused a second feeling of this-worldy natural grace and gratitude came over me. 

Well, now I'm back home recovering and I've just read a report that since the Brexit vote in June 2016 there has been a 96% drop in EU nurses registering to work in Britain; 46 nurses came to work in the UK in April, down from 1,304 last July. This, unlike facing my own mortality, does make me angry and distressed because it is something that—unlike discovering whether I had cancer or not, something over which I have no control—simply need not be the case because some real meaningful control over this shocking state of affairs can still be had.

It's a reminder to me to do everything in my power to ensure that those in government do not engage in the massive act of self-harm that a hard-Brexit (which included the loss of freedom of movement and the rights of EU nationals to remain in the UK) will bring upon us all.

Why on earth would we want to do something that would so threaten this extraordinary pluralist, cosmopolitan, international mix of caring professionals one finds in a modern hospital?—a mix which surely bespeaks of something akin to the Republic of Heaven I have hope can still slowly come into being.