Personally through my own experiences of the NHS, I have seen how empathetic, patient and hardworking most of the medical professional staff are; but I have also experienced unsympathetic, tired, stressed NHS staff who many are unable to deliver the nurturing services we have all expected for years
The ‘National Health Service’, for me is a cherished national treasure worth more than weight in gold. I have hadso many personal experiences with NHS Staff, family and friends and I know that I will share many more memorable life experiences within the ‘NHS’. Some may associate the NHS as a place where you go when bad things happen in life but I recall as mature child memories of the NHS being portrayed by most within society, as an enriched environment. The NHS a place for public free health care that so many services are being sold off for privatisation. I considered nursing because my Father told me often whilst growing up that there were great employment opportunities and benefits. Nowadays, you hear of medical professions leaving the profession, or nurse recruitment being at ‘all-time-low!’ Personally through my own experiences of the NHS, I have seen how empathetic, patient and hardworking most of the medical professional staff are; but I have also experienced unsympathetic, tired, stressed NHS staff who many are unable to deliver the nurturing services we have all expected for years as ‘UK-Tax-payers’ we have invested for a high quality service.
I have used the NHS all my ‘thirty-something years of life’…obviously not able to recall my very first experience which my Ma reminds me often times than none; how miraculous my entrance into the world was, as a premature baby the NHS care onto an Islington hospital ‘delivery table’.
In fact, my first memorable experience was as a younger child being put to sleep for a major op’, having my tonsils removed. In the 1980’s this was quite a common procedure that the NHS would provide. I recall speaking to fellow classmates at the time that too enjoyed the experience-‘weird I know’. However, the experience was the best as you woke up from the op and a nurse brought around a tray of mash potatoes, with strips of chicken, peas and gravy; ice cream with jelly for dessert. I kid you not that I actually felt that the ordeal of surgery was a minor op as afterwards the care by all the staff was amazing. Nowadays, I am not even sure if I would even dare to ask for any additional support from staff at a hospital or even at a surgery clinic. The nurses checked up on you several times to ensure that you was okay, now a days I have experienced the lack of nurse presence on the floor.
There was a time when I recall arriving at the GP surgery and your name would be called literally as soon as you walk into the surgery. Nowadays, I am experiencing longer waiting times, and you dare not be late for your appointment or miss it as if you do the consequence is not being seen on the day then waiting weeks later for another appointment. My experience has been that usually seeing my GP always but nowadays I’ve noticed an increase in local agency GPs. Sometimes I have had inexperienced practitioners who haven’t always listened to me as a patient but have been focused on the minutes you sit in the chair opposite. I often feel not having my trusted GP assess my needs can be daunting it can be uncomfortable seeing a unfamiliar face you know.
Recently, I had a very nasty fall via public transport that left me with severe lower back trauma. My experience in the more recent years is the scarceness of appointment booking; often I’ve waited weeks before able to book an appointment or a follow up Physiotherapy session. Some medics have different professional outlook approaches too, I’ve been told by a few Practitioners what I should be feeling and not able to express in my own mind being told by a professional that you know nothing of your own needs is very wrong, but the honest truth is GP’s cannot connect you to the services you need if it is a drained on resources.
(I have experienced two full birth deliveries now and for me, it was utterly the most agonising but beautiful inner strength experiences of my life! Through the whole experience I had loved ones around to share the treasured moment with me but additionally because of the caring, patient, compassionate, noble NHS staff present to support at all levels necessary; it made the gruelling painful experience a magnificent supportive and passionate NHS Staff made my experience so much more relaxing and special
However, during my more recent labour experience I was suffering with severe pain in my back and asked for additional pillows, a nurse returned to the delivery room explaining that she would wrap towels to give me…as pillows were short in supply.. I am more certain now than ever, that the older I am becoming the more heavily I have and will become dependent on the NHS Trust.
BUT I am very worried as on ‘4th March 2017’ I took part in a national demo against cuts, closures, privatisation and low paid staff salaries. I then became a reborn activists…unable to walk the pace of the thousands of protesters that turned u I realised we all had one thing in common ‘solidarity’ for our many brothers and sisters who slug their guts to work hard to provide the services we all need. However, they are unable to deliver high quality services if they are not given the right funds for materials or paid salaries. The NHS is under extreme pressure in providing services and that amazing nurturing care that we were all so used to experiencing is seriously being under funded and you can see strains in workers' faces instead of smiles . My experience was a bitter sweet as I was told by some doctors/nurses that they were busy with other patients so I had to access the toilets alone often in severe pain and agony. I was told that I needed to leave the hospital but when assessed it became clearer that I was not able to return home. I was placed on three different wards as a result of shortage of beds for more priority patents than myself. I am thankful for the goodness of the NHS of course but there is sadness displayed nowadays that the lack of support and clarity of what actual services you can access isn’t known as a patient as services are depleting.
We need massive public funding to ensure good jobs are provided so that staff stay within the NHS and the right services and benefits for all are accessible; then the trust will last longer to serve the next generation.
Valerie Bosman-Quarshie is a Young Fabians member.