In Praise of the NHS
The media is always quick to jump on negative stories about the NHS. They love a good MRSA outbreak or a pensioner with no water jug.
A while back I saw comic Dominic Holland on a TV show talking about how he’d broken his leg pretty badly and had been in hospital for an extended stay. He said that he’d received exemplary care throughout his stay, and that when he came home he wrote a piece about it, the positive side of the NHS. He offered it to every major UK newspaper, and none of them wanted it.
Nobody wants to report the good experiences, only the bad.
A recent survey by First4Lawyers found that actually, only 29% of respondents knew someone who had experienced “poor” treatment at the hands of NHS staff. Furthermore, only 23% think this poor care is not down to staff being overworked.
When asked whether they thought the government was right to cut funding to the NHS, a whopping 73% of people said no, And yet they carry on, blithely cutting funding and services and expecting GPs to offer longer opening hours… Something has to give – and what gives are inevitably the niggly little irritating things around the edges – like having to wait all day to see a doctor in A&E, or being sent to the wrong part of the hospital for an appointment, or going to an appointment and not seeing anyone until at least an hour after that time.
My sister broke her jaw a few weeks ago, and although she spent a huge amount of time waiting around for treatment and an operation and everything else, the staff were all lovely to her. From start to finish, the ambulance crew, the A&E staff, the holding ward staff, the oral surgery staff, the burns unit staff, the surgeon, the anaesthetist, the outpatients staff, were all lovely and went out of their way to care for her.
In fact, my local hospital was recently found to be one of the safest in the country. It also has the most amazing view from the entrance to A&E. Look at this:
I asked my readers about their experiences with NHS treatment; these are just a few of the things I was told:
One lady needed an operation on her knee, and “the consultant did so much to make me feel at ease.” The doctor arranged for her to go into surgery at 10am rather than 8 as it was more convenient, arranged for a side room for her so that she could breastfeed her baby in privacy, and allowed her to wear her own pyjamas so that she was more comfortable. She was able to have a spinal block and to watch the surgery; he also talked her through the entire process and gave her photos afterwards.
Another lady had to go to hospital with a suspected ectopic pregnancy. As you can imagine, a fairly stressful and worrying time. She has had to go back every 48 hours to have hormone levels monitored, which can’t be much fun under the circumstances – but she had only good things to say about all of the staff. She told me “obviously I’m not wanting to broadcast this to the world, but I do want to sing the praises of the hospital; they have always been great with me.. I have been treated with the utmost care and respect, they really are wonderful in my opinion.”
Numerous people got in touch to tell me the staff of their local children’s wards were fantastic. How those people manage to be so unfalteringly chirpy and pleasant when faced with poorly children all day completely confounds me. I had to take S to our local children’s ward last year, and it absolutely petrified me to see all these children with tubes and drips and bandages, but despite being ill they seemed to love seeing the staff, and all of them were of course amazing with S.
And of course, I have to mention my experience when S was born. We were in hospital for nearly two weeks, during which time I think I must have met every single staff member on the post natal ward, as well as amazing people who looked after S in NICU and then continued to come down to the ward to see us until we were discharged. Some of them are still my friends on Facebook. I’m sure they would tell you they were just doing their jobs, but I will never forget the kindness and support of those people who I feel went out of their way to help me.
And that is why I wanted to write a positive piece about the NHS. Balls to you, cynical mainstream media. I appreciate our doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives and so do my friends, relatives and readers. So there.This post was written in collaboration with First4Lawyers.