Born inequality

Nicola Adam, Group Editor
Nicola Adam, Group Editor

Does it matter where you are born?

No, not all.

It’s not something we have any control over, we are born helpless, wailing, and more equal than we will ever be again, in a location determined by the series of decisions your parents have individually and together made over their lives, plus an accident of biology.

But it was with some shock this week that I realised the hospital of my middle-of-the-night birth was on a list of hospitals revealed by our own Johnston press investigations team to be earmarked for possible closure or downgrade.

Born as I was in Surrey, or south London depending on which way look at it - in St Helier Hospital - I now nothing much about the area as I left as a tot.

Despite my status as naturalised northerner - I have been a Lancastrian now for decades -it is still a jolt to think that just possibly no new lives will start where mine did at St Helier.

Most of us start and often end our lives in the bosom of our health service, it is the framework for our lives.

Most of us have a story to tell, a burst appendix, a broken leg, a traumatic birth, treatment for cancer, multiple visits with accident-prone children or sporty friends.

I thought I had been lucky and had to call on them too much personally. I considered myself a light user of the NHS, a childhood stay for my adenoids.. tonsils out as an adult.

It was when the bike paramedic saved my life after I went into anaphylactic shock with my nut allergy that I realised that without this service, many of us would not be here.

As the NHS crisis grows deeper I think of my mum, who died too young of breast cancer, and how she was treated with care and compassion.

I think of a friend’s son, born far too early and kept in an incubator for months.

All of those cumulative events will have cost a fortune - a fortune the struggling health service no longer has.

We have become accustomed to our right for treatment and in our local area.

But it has become absolutely clear, that from now on, depending where we live, we will no longer be born equal.