The NHS’ 65th Birthday


I am the product what can be achieved when opportunity is combined with a bit of hard work. After going to my local comprehensive school in Grimsby, I went onto medical school and I qualified as a doctor in 2007.

For the last six years I have worked in the NHS. As a junior doctor I have worked in A&E, General Practice and on elderly care medical wards. I am now specialising in Women’s Health and work on the frontline of the NHS on on a daily basis. My job literally is caring for patients cradle to grave. It involves working late at night delivering babies to sadly caring for patients nearing the end of life.

I’ve seen the NHS working at it’s best. In fact this week sadly I told a woman she had cancer. The week before she had been to see her GP with abnormal bleeding, but was quickly referred and diagnosed with endometrial cancer ten days later. Her cancer of the womb is to be treated with surgery, which will be performed in the next few weeks. I fully expect that she will be cured. Understandably this diagnosis came as a shock to her and she was very upset. But this is an example of how the NHS quickly responded, saving her life. Before Labour came to power many patients sadly died on waiting lists. And I am now worried where the NHS is heading.

I fully expect to read horror stories in the Daily Mail but I am getting fed up of this Government rubbishing the NHS. The crisis in A&E is not all because of the GP contract. Mid Staffs was truly awful, but why is the government not acting on many of the recommendations in the Francis report? This week they have stooped to a new low by trying to blame all the NHS’ problems on immigration. The only impact of immigration on the NHS which I have seen is many hard working healthworkers who have kept the system running well for so long.

Yes, the NHS faces big challenges. Yes the NHS needs to change. We need to reform social care, joining up services to support the ageing population and patients with long term conditions.

But I know that the NHS provides healthcare with standards and results much of developed world looks on at enviously. And the NHS is a model of how to provide universal access to healthcare which many developing countries aspire to.

As a young doctor however, I think we can still remain optimistic about the future of the NHS. Now is a real opportunity win the debate in public. We need to return to the core value of the NHS, a universal health service, free at the point of use paid for by taxation. We need to promote these values to within the NHS itself and champion the voice of patients. It is great tonight to see so many people who passionately care about the principles of the NHS. Together we can defend the NHS and help it to change to meet the future demands of patients.