Captain Tom – Is that money going where you think it is?

He is a hero.

At the time of writing this he has raised over £27 million for NHS Charities. It is a remarkable achievement. He captivated the nation with his warmth and humour and wanted to do something, anything, to help out in anyway he could to support the frontline workers based on his admiration for his local doctors and nurses.

100 laps later and international acclaim, and maybe the time this gets a posted even a UK number 1 after featuring on You’ll Never Walk Alone with Michael Ball. Even The Weeknd was tweeting about it to get him knocked off the number one spot.

I love this camaraderie and togetherness that Captain Tom has developed. I’ve also really enjoyed how much his daughter, Hannah, has come out of her shell and isn’t just the interpreter anymore. I’m really pleased for her. On the day they completed the 100th lap she was side by side with Captain Tom and was looking direct into the proper camera and was smiling and could have easily been presenting the news that day. Really pleased.

What I’m not loving as much is how the NHS is being passed off as a charity.

The fund-raising effort from people all over the country for the NHS charities is incredible. Everyone should feel proud that they are supporting NHS staff all over the UK. It’s wonderful to see. What I hope people realise is that this money is not being used to procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and it’s not being used to change anything else in the hospitals or the wards. It’s being used for emotional support for NHS workers and other such types for workers.

As a mental health worker I support this whole-heartedly and hope that with the money raised and some canny investments from the funds they use that combination of NHS charities can sustainably support itself going forward; that would be marvellous.

The NHS as we know it is not a charity. It is publicly funded and the government distributes the funds to the different health boards. Health is also devolved so that Wales and Scotland are responsible for the allocation of the funds in these areas.

Why am I writing about this? It’s not as you may think a growing concern among many that the NHS is being sold off by the Conservative government. I will let you make your own mind up about that.

But what I will encourage is the desire to learn and educate yourself and everyone around as to where that money is actually going and more vitally important, is it supporting the cause true to your values?

I don’t want you to be hoodwinked thinking that you’re keeping your local hospital afloat with these donations because that’s not what they’re doing. If we really want to fund the frontline of the NHS pay your taxes and hold the government of the day accountable so that it receives proper investment, and if they’re not, vote in another one when you can if they believe in the same health provision you do.

Don’t let your values put you in a place where you’re parting with money with belief you are supporting one thing over another. Do your research and find out what and who is being supported and what the impact is.

I’ll do another post about charity donations and my thoughts over the last couple of years of working in the charity sector.

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