LETTER: We must fight for our NHS because it is under threat
Yesterday (Sunday) I visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn for my daily anti-biotic infusion. I was shocked to find the entrance awash with emergency ambulances.
I knew, from my own experience at Christmas, that in A& E there were doctors and nurses working very hard to save lives and get people well again.
I had been admitted in the early hours of Christmas Eve with sepsis. Thanks to the ambulance crew who spotted it, the doctors in A&E who treated me for sepsis shock and all the doctors, nurses and many other staff who looked after me over the Christmas weekend I survived.
However, when it came to my discharge there was a problem. If my home had been half a mile to the east in Norfolk, I was told I could have had my IV infusion at home by a district nurse but sadly this service is not provided in Cambridgeshire. Nor could an arrangement be made with Wisbech hospital as the infusion was needed seven days a week for six weeks.
If my wife hadn’t been able to drive me every day to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to have my infusion I would still be an in-patient and occupying a bed I didn’t need.
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It seems, sadly, the NHS has again become a post code lottery under this government. According to the recent Healthwatch newsletter, Cambridgeshire Commissioning Group lost £8.4million last year due to the unnecessary tendering of the community service.
This amount would have paid for around 30 district nurses for eight years.
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When I reached the ward for my infusion I discovered the hospital was on black alert, all beds were full and the doctors and nurses on the ward were working their socks off.
Despite being so busy the nurses cheerfully got my infusion ready and apologised for keeping me waiting a little.
It was not doctors’ or nurses’ contracts that was the problem, as Jeremy Hunt would like us to believe, but a lack of beds and a high demand for care.
When I hear Mr Hunt on TV I know he is lying to us - 50,000 doctors and thousands of nurses are not wrong when they say our NHS is under threat.
I was just six years old when the NHS was created but I know how valuable it has been to me. It is time people started to realise that if we don’t fight for it we will lose the NHS and perhaps only then will many understand what a gem it has been.