AA Gill used to think that being a NHS patient was like travelling second class on a train, glitter than first class, but in the end everyone ended up at the same destination. But he’s discovered that the drug that might keep him alive is not available on the NHS…

By A.A. Gill

This article is published in cooperation with European Press Prize.

It seems unlikely, uncharacteristic, so un-“us” to have settled on sickness and bed rest as the votive altar and cornerstone of national politics. But there it is: every election, the National Health Service is the thermometer and the crutch of governments. The NHS represents everything we think is best about us. Everyone standing for whatever political persuasion has to lay a sterilised hand on an A&E revolving door and swear that the collective cradle-to-crematorium health service will be cherished on their watch.