Our nearest hospital is The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, about twenty five miles away. It is a known and trusted hospital and most people here would choose to go there.
Our nearest large hospital is The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, about forty miles away. It is a state of the art building, much more modern and much larger than The Friarage but not nearly so well-trusted by 'the locals'. As an incomer I personally have no difficulty with James Cook, which is where I go for almost all of my treatment - and the farmer and I have got the journey worked out to a minimum.
Now they are closing parts of the Friarage Hospital and re-directing patients to Middlesbrough - mostly children and over night care in emergency. Parents of young children are naturally worried that in an emergency their children have to travel an extra twenty miles in the middle of the night.
I was thinking about all this when our friends were over from The Netherlands. In so many ways we are so very lucky with our National Health Service. It has been going so long that we tend to take it for- granted. Yes, there are huge flaws in it, but by and large we get good treatment and we don't have to worry about paying for it. Our Dutch friends have to pay around £1200 each per year for their medical treatment. The cost of treatment in USA is even greater.
I think it is worth bearing this in mind even though we could almost all of us tell a story about something that was badly organised, or went wrong. I for one am jolly pleased I live in the UK.