Dear Iceland, you've misunderstood. We said send "CASH!"
Ah the famous British stoicism! A huge cloud of ash floats overhead, the airspace has been closed now for six days, the already-failing economy is going into cardiac arrest, and the attitude here is predominantly, "Let's get on with it!" There is a brilliant resiliency to the British that is rather impressive.
We've been given an alert as to the consequences should the cloud descend and what the health implications would be. It would be very bad for this area with very high percentages of COPD in the population!
Many British citizens are trapped abroad as last week was Spring Break and many families were traveling. What this means is that we are short staffed in many places. Many businesses are without employees and schools without teachers or students. The morning radio shows have satellite interviews with people in South Africa, Beijing, Rome and New York, all trying to get back to "old Blighty." There are plenty of Americans stuck over here as well.
What is interesting are the Brits calling from New York who are running out of prescription medications. They can't get them. However anyone stuck in the UK (or anywhere in the EU) can go to a walk-in center, chemist (pharmacist) or hospital and get treated here right now. There is reciprocity among EU nations that ensures treatment and care for their citizens.
There will be extra patients to see until the ash clears and everyone gets back. There will then be extra costs associated with this event. But the belief here that healthcare is a right and not a privilege negates any hard feelings about that. So until everyone is back home, I say "Let's get on with it!"
On another note, as an NHS employee, I am advised against commenting or writing about the upcoming general election here. The NHS maintains a neutral position on all political goings-on. Once the election has occurred, I will be able to fill you in on the details of what each party promised. If you would like to see for yourself, you can Google David Cameron, the leader of the Tories; Gordon Brown, the current Labour Prime Minister; and the Liberal Democrats to see what each has in mind for health care.