Hurrah for the National Health Service

Although my treatment is over, the check-ups go on. Yesterday I attended an appointment with my radiology oncologist.

Unlike on previous occasions, I was ushered into a consultation room from an empty waiting room five minutes before the appointed time. The consultant asked me a few questions about side-effects of the medication and how I got on with the radiotherapy – my answers here were both positive. She explained that there was no test to see if the chemo and radiotherapies had worked – the only test would be if the cancer returned, in which case it would show that the adjuvant treatments had NOT worked. But so far all seems well.

My next appointment is next month. I shall have a mammogram prior to an appointment with the surgeon. Assuming that goes as hoped, I won’t have to visit the hospital again for another year.

While on the subject of the hospital, last month I walked its corridors rather more than I would have liked after my husband was taken in as an emergency at the end of August. He stayed there for over three weeks while they stabilised him. He’s home now and needing a lot of care – mainly provided by me. But that’s better than spending hours on end beside a hospital bed.

This is the point at which I want to thank the National Health Service from the bottom of my heart. The people I have met over the past year – both for my own issues, and for those of my husband – have been professional, kind, caring, and above-all patient.

The system creaks a little and occasionally things go wrong. When they do I believe that it’s up to patients or their families to keep on top of what is happening and ensure that small things don’t get forgotten. And unfortunately there are some people who are unable to do so. However in my case, and in that of my husband,  I cannot express my thanks highly enough to the entire service – consultant surgeons, HCAs*, physiotherapists, dieticians, staff nurses, registrars, junior doctors, porters, kitchen staff and nurse managers. Every single one was a dedicated professional. They all work under difficult circumstances. They are short-staffed, so each one has too many patients to see. But when they come to see you, they don’t show their stress, and never hurry you through a consultation or a treatment.

Never before have I felt so grateful to live in a country where this level of service is provided completely free of charge. I must have had thousands of pounds worth of treatment over the past year in scans, mammograms, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. My husband likewise has received a great deal of medication and hospital care. All without question. I sometimes think that people in this country simply don’t appreciate what we have here.

I am bitterly opposed to Brexit. I do not hide this in my public postings and over the past two years I have used my Facebook profile to try to show just how damaging Brexit will be. It will be the greatest self-inflicted wound in decades – and we could still stop it. I shall be marching next week to voice my disgust at what is happening in our country. Among many many effects this disastrous move will have, is, I believe, the decimation of our National Health Service. I pray that the country will still see sense and stop Brexit.

* health care assistant – these are the nurses who deal with patients’ personal care – an arduous job at the best of times.

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