NHS saved my life - now we must save it

One Tuesday morning in late July 2015, I woke up feeling somewhat uncomfortable.

I phoned up my local surgery at 8.10am, described my symptoms, and was given an appointment to see a doctor at 8.40am.

The doctor was sufficiently concerned as to advise that he would arrange for me to see a consultant at GWH as soon as possible.

Later that day I received a phone call advising me that I had an appointment at the hospital on the Thursday morning, two days later.

I saw the consultant and after an initial examination, he proposed a more detailed examination in the next few weeks. 

Two weeks later, I had the detailed examination and the doctor performing the examination advised that I had bowel cancer.

You can imagine the shock.

My first question was, "How can you be sure, the results of the biopsies you've taken won't be back for two weeks?"

His reply was simply, "I've seen it far too often, I know it's cancer."

When my wife arrived to take me home, the doctor sat with us for about 40 minutes and gave us a detailed description of the nature of the cancer, what options there may be, and what the next steps would be.

A few weeks later when all the results were available, I had another appointment with the consultant who I'd first seen at the hospital, who said that he believed they had caught the cancer early enough and it was operable.

Although there were additional implications which would result from the operation - e.g. Chemotherapy and the need for a Stoma bag - I was over the moon.

I wept with pure happiness!

I had the operation in October and, after recovery, I went on a six month course of chemotherapy.

Now, eight years after the initial appointment at my local surgery, I am still free from cancer.

All my treatment and aftercare has been as an NHS patient, no private care has been involved or required.

In light of all the issues which currently beset the NHS, I would make the following points:

Can one imagine such prompt and effective action being available today?

What real action is the government taking to promote a level of care which was so fortunate to experience eight years ago?

There were many student nurses working on the wards and in the hospital, helping the full-time staff and supporting good patient care,

Most were on a £10,000 bursary which this government has withdrawn.

How do numbers of nurses now in training compare to numbers for 2015?

How on earth does this government believe they can provide a first class NHS when they have virtually imposed such a poor pay award on the nursing and ambulance staff and while they persist with their meagre offerings to doctors and consultants?

We are so, so fortunate to have a 'Free at the Point of Delivery' health service.

But it must be properly funded and managed with an unquestioning respect for the staff and service standards for the patient.

Fine words and clapping on the steps of Downing Street and then, only a few years later, gross mismanagement, chaos and wholesale dumping of service targets.

I won't go into any detail on NHS Dentistry, it's already virtually non-existent.

There must be change.

There must be proper funding provisions.

This government must sort out its priorities.

I await the King's Speech with interest.

Anonymous, name and address supplied