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Play predicts chilling future for Britain's prized health service


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Play predicts chilling future for Britain's prized health service


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FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators hold placards during a march in support of the National Health Service, in central London, Britain, June 30, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson


EDINBURGH (Reuters) - A desperate mechanic driven to operate on his sick wife is the subject of a disturbing play which looks at the future of Britain's prized public health service, shown at the Edinburgh Fringe.


"After the Cuts" is the dystopian story of Jim, a retired mechanic, and his wife Agnes who cannot afford medical treatment when she is diagnosed with cancer. Years into the future, healthcare in Britain is no longer free.


The performance coincides with the celebration of the seventieth anniversary of Britain's National Health Service (NHS) and its "cradle to grave" care. The anniversary has provoked public reflection on its integrity as tight government budgets put pressure on services. 


Cost restraints amid the growing demands of an aging population have compounded anxiety over the consequences of Britain's exit from the European Union next year, and the potential impact on the supply of medicines and staff.


The subject is close to the public's heart, director Beth Morton told Reuters at the world's biggest arts and culture festival in Edinburgh.


"The audiences react so differently (...) some laugh a lot, in serious places too, perhaps because of discomfort. People cry, because they feel the human connection," she said.


"The message is not to take the NHS for granted."


Accompanied by dim lighting and a soundtrack that is by turns mournful and menacing, the setting in a small performing space creates a charged atmosphere.


The drama culminates a scene where Jim operates on his wife to a backdrop of metallic, violent sound effects.


Despite the grim topic, the play is also peppered with bittersweet jokes: the couple laugh over the costs of a hospital trip where they are billed for electricity, water and toilet trips and Agnes is continually compared to the broken vacuum cleaner, which Jim haphazardly mends.


A recent poll found the NHS is a principle concern of British voters, with 77 percent of the public backing an increase in public spending on healthcare.


The show will tour Britain in spring 2019.  


-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-08-26
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If the Tories remain in government the NHS is doomed, they've wanted to get rid of it ever since it started but have been afraid of the loss of votes if they did it in a way that the voters could see...

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2 hours ago, Expatthailover said:

Sieg heil

Just 2 Desreali quotes for you .Probably spelt]desraeli wrong sorry.

 The first on refers to your post

  How much easier it is to be critical than correct 

  And this one better explains my post

The health of the people is really the foundation upon which all happiness and all their powers as a state depend.

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the NHS pays out millions to interpreters for all the foreigners that use the NHS. supposed to be reciprocal agreements to claim costs back from all EU countries but government doesnt seem to be able to do it. this whole Brexit scenario is totally the fault of UK governments ability to not protect the fabric of its people

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