The stellar cast of contributors includes Sir Paul McCartney, Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry, Dawn French, Sir Trevor McDonald, Sir Michael Palin, Ricky Gervais, Sir David Jason and Dame Emma Thompson.
Ranging from minor embarrassing incidents to heartbreaking diagnoses, their brushes with the NHS reflect those of the general population.
Literary excellence may not be the point of a book such as this, but even so some of the entries are short on effort. Ricky Gervais provides a total of 10 lines comprising a Wikipedia-style precis of his humble beginnings before noting that healthcare is why he’s happy to pay his taxes “now that I’ve got a bob or two”, while the comedian Josh Widdicombe squeezes out two short and unintelligible paragraphs about having once had an anaesthetic. Jamie Oliver takes the “will this do?” approach to the next level as he cuts and pastes his recipes for veggie chilli and rye bread scones, both of which have long been available elsewhere...Yet amid these egregious tales of swollen egos are other, more generous essays about the experience of being hospitalised, or watching loved ones in distress, or that offer broader observations about why free healthcare is worth fighting for.