Scarlett Moffatt was recently crowned the winner of this year’s series of I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here – but, rather than use her time in the spotlight to boost her own profile, the 26-year-old has decided to remind Brits why they should never take their free healthcare for granted.
Speaking to The Mirror, the I’m A Celebrity star said: “When I watch programmes like One Born Every Minute and 24 Hours in A&E, I just think the NHS is amazing and we’re so lucky to have it in this country.
“Even people who don’t have money can get cared for and you can’t say that about many places in the world.”
Scarlett, who was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy as a child, went on to recall an incident where her father had fallen ill during a holiday to Spain. As a result, he was forced to attend a local hospital – and the Gogglebox star was shocked by the conditions that people were forced to endure there.
“In some countries people can't actually afford to be well, which seems crazy,” said Moffatt. “My dad had vertigo once when he and my mam were on holiday in Spain, and when they went to the Spanish hospital people were piled up in corridors and the queues were crazy.”
The reality star didn’t shy away from addressing the NHS’s shortcomings, however.
Above: Scarlett Moffatt celebrates her I’m A Celeb win with her family
Moffatt said: “I know the food's a bit s*** in our hospitals and they can smell a bit p****, but they're saving lives, so you can't really moan.
“We're lucky to have good doctors too. I always think when I go to the doctors that I'll get a fit one, but I never have. Gutted.”
Moffatt’s not the first celebrity to use their position in the spotlight as a means of defending the NHS; earlier this week, Paloma Faith penned an open letter to doctors, midwives, and nurses, thanking them for their help during the difficult birth of her first baby.
Faith wrote: “The devotion, kindness, and commitment shown by all of them was second to none, and I am humbled by the whole experience.
“I really believe the NHS to be one of the greatest achievements of this country, and it should be respected and protected by all.”
And, earlier this year, an American doctor’s letter about our country’s free – but under-resourced – health service quickly went viral after she shared it on her blog.
She wrote: “Dear U.K., the NHS is awesome. Try to treat it a little better. Maybe teach kids in school how to use the health care system (hey, why not NHS ed alongside drivers ed or sex ed?). Have safe sex. Stop smoking. Try to lose weight if you need to (obesity causes 30% of cancers). Wear lower heels for dancing. And for crying out loud stop stealing wheelchairs.
“The next time anyone mentions privatization or user fees tell them in America there are people trying to save enough money for the co-payment for the CT scan that will tell them if their cancer has returned or not.”
Dr Gunter finished by penning one final word of advice for the British government.
“Stop trying to mess it up.”
Dr Gunter’s warning couldn’t be more timely; this week, it was revealed that there has been a sharp rise in “trolley waits” – aka the amount of time people have to wait for a hospital bed after being admitted in an emergency.
New data, compiled by the BBC, shows 473,453 patients waited more than four hours between October 2015 and September 2016 - almost a five-fold increase since 2010/11.
They also reported that three-quarters of hospitals are reporting bed shortages – and, when asked to comment on the issue, Dr Chris Moulton, of the Royal College of Medicine, said that the NHS has been put under an enormous amount of pressure.
“Patients who are delayed like this are still being monitored by staff. But we know that the overcrowding we are seeing is dangerous.
“It leads to worse outcomes for patients - higher infection rates, patients ending up on the wrong wards, and generally a negative experience.”
He added: “We simply don't have enough [beds]. If you compare us to other European countries we are really short and the demands being placed on the health service means we are now struggling to cope.”