Why is there so much antipathy to the Surgeon and so little value placed on the performance of Surgery?
Not for the first time the job that we do is portrayed as optional, sham, cosmetic, a luxury. Pain isn't optional. Osteoarthritis, neuralgia, tendinitis, functional incapacity, inability to be economically active through musculoskeletal insufficiency: these are not conditions to be put off to another day. A torn meniscus isn't cancer, doesn't provide the emotional photo ops of a children's ward, and yet for that patient it means pain, it means swelling, it means not driving, it means losing income, it means lack of sleep, sleep deprivation that most penetrating of all psychological abuses.
Surgeons are not charlatans. We do not exist to create a demand, a need, where there is none. We have training in a skill that maintains the human skeleton beyond its warranty: it was only designed to last for 35-40 years. After that, it loses much of its adolescent ability to repair. It starts wearing out, at the height of our economic earning potential, when our outgoings are at their lifetime peak. Mortgages, childcare, tax demands, insurance... Who will underwrite that when you take to your bed after discovering all the Nurofen in the world won't let you sleep.
Value your surgeons. If a surgeon offers an operation, it is because all reasonable non-operative options have been exhausted. It's not because we're looking for a job creation scheme. Be honest about what you are doing when you ask people to think again about surgeries to improve quality of life. You are talking about Rationing, Cost and Corner cutting. Storing up worse trouble for the future, even if it is a future government of another colour. You are talking about an NHS that can only deal with cancer, kids and crashes.
Value the current, the existing NHS. In the words of Joni Mitchell, you don't know what you've got till it's gone...