31 May 2016
Dear Mr Jeremy Hunt
Twice I have had to call on the ambulance service in the past three months, once for my dear mother in law in February and once for my own mother in April. Twice those ambulances were called at ridiculously unsociable hours, yet on both occasions I was greeted by outstanding professionalism, care and compassion. My mother in law’s first response treatment was carried out in extremely difficult and in fact dangerous conditions, but the crew not only stepped up to the mark, they stepped clear over it in order to save her life.
Twice I was concerned about my ability to drive safely to meet those ambulances at A&E due to my increasing tiredness at such a late hour, let alone have the ability to be able to function to provide life saving treatment as the medical staff on arrival at hospital had to do.
Twice I have spent a ‘night shift’ with both my mother in law and mother in A&E. In the case of my mother in law, no less than 23 nurses, doctors and other medical professionals were involved in saving her life in the first twenty-four hours of her now 13 week hospital stay.
Twice more since her initial admission to hospital I have had to sit, once for a four day stretch and watch as end of life care plans were discussed with us and initiated as she fought bravely at 81 years of age to survive surgery for a broken hip coupled with pneumonia.
Twice my family and I sat with consultants, junior doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and speech therapists to identify and agree care plans.
The NHS saved my own life 17 years ago this month after an extremely difficult labour giving birth to my first son. The NHS saved my husband’s life 11 years ago when his was rushed to hospital with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes.
The NHS has provided unprecedented medical care to my diabetic husband; autistic second son; football playing, ankle breaking, dislocating shoulder first son and my hyper-mobility syndrome suffering, arthritic self.
I dare not count the GP visits, A&E visits, hospital stays, outpatient appointments and countless other services we have taken use of over the years, all for free. Can you even begin to imagine the cost of my mother in law’s 13 week hospital stay if we had been required to pay for her ongoing treatment?
The way in which the press slates the NHS shocks me. The way in which the government grossly under-funds the NHS disgusts me. The way in which people take the NHS for granted saddens me.
Mr Hunt; use the NHS, appreciate the NHS, but do not abuse or destroy the NHS.