It had to happen

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I always knew the day would come when I had to spend my first night in hospital for reason of my own health for the first time since I was born and last night was it. The lergy that hit me at the weekend turns out to have been a gall stone giving grief.

What have I learned so far? First, I have to admit, is that morphine is an amazing pain killer.

Second is just how extraordinary the NHS can be. Once it was clear I needed to come in everything moved remarkably quickly and smoothly from GP to hospital to tests and diagnosis. Now I am well aware that I have presented a fairly simple case , but I am still impressed.

Third, the need for integration is so obvious when looking at the whole process I have been through and yet the whole ethos of NHS privatisation undermines this.

Fourth, the vast majority of NHS staff make the private sector look silly. Purpose clearly matters to these people. I cannot see how working for a private sector provider could improve this; indeed, much recent reading I have done suggests how hard it is for private sector providers to recruit staff to serve the NHS.

Fifth, I am not alone in thinking this: the guys around me share that view. I have asked them.

Sixth, the hospital I am in is under threat. It has a big deficit and supposedly low ratings. But, close it and the nearest hospital for all in here would be 40 miles away. The social cost of that would have been enormous. So would the economic cost: I doubt I could have withstood getting here in a car if the journey had been 40 mikes; an ambulance would have been needed.

Seventh, what this says to me is the frontline can work well so if reform is needed (and I know all the arguments for reform ) then it is the back end that needs change. The obvious answer is to remove the enormous admin cost of the faux market in the NHS.

Eighth, I have already improved enough to have a sausage bap for breakfast.

Ninth, I can blog from an iPhone - and haven 't before.

But most importantly, my commitment to this amazing institution is stronger than ever.