Jane, wake up, you’ve had a seizure’

Happy 70th Birthday to the NHS from Jane

January 2016 ‘Jane, wake up, you’ve had a seizure’. There are paramedics in my bedroom. I’m on my way to A & E in rush hour. It’s heaving with sick people and I’m one of them. I’d felt unwell the night before. I thought I was coming down with a cold. Later that day I left The Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham with a referral to neurology. The casual parting shot; ‘Oh, don’t drive and let the DVLA know.’ It took 12 months to get my licence back. I didn’t see that one coming, nor did I anticipate the fear of going to sleep for weeks after the seizure.

Off to neurology. A brain scan and an EEG. I look like I’m wired to the National Grid. At last, a diagnosis. Thank you, Dr Bruno Gran, for your kindness and patience when I was feeling anxious. My frontal and temporal lobe is a bit ‘over-excitable’! I’m still taking the meds.

Wired to the Grid
Wired to the Grid

My own NHS experience is minor compared with my partner who was lucky enough to have a surgeon with magical powers and maybe Superhero DNA. His name is Dr Charles Maxwell Armstrong. He performed intricate keyhole surgery three times (the first one was an emergency) to give my partner a fighting chance. He’s doing well considering. Without the NHS it might have been curtains. This amazing consultant turned up with his daughter on a weekend on their way to play tennis just to check on his handiwork. Thanks, QMC…again.

Two of several incredible experiences of the NHS in our lives.

Whilst the 70th anniversary is about celebration I’ve recently been reading about poor health care from the NHS and harsh critics of the failures of a system at breaking point. It’s far from perfect but my own experiences outweigh the negative press.

Many people are unaware of the NHS Constitution but the key principles of being free at the point of delivery and based on clinical need, not ability to pay have protected me and mine all our lives. Actually, it’s not completely free! Here’s a breakdown of how the money is used but you get the idea. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/how-health-care-is-funded

Today, I cost the NHS a small fortune and will continue to do so for as long as it is there. When my daughter was a baby and became seriously ill on holiday in France we had to call an emergency ambulance to get her to a hospital 60km from our campsite in The French Alps at speed. Good job we had a credit card handy (and an E111 now called an EHIC ). Being in Europe, we were able to claim back what we spent. No, I’m not going there, that’s a completely different rant.

So, what does the NHS means to me?

Dear NHS Happy 70th Birthday
Thank you for looking after me and employing me for 25 years and counting.

Thank you to the student midwife who cried when she saw my daughter arrive into the world. Her first time in the delivery suite and a very special moment.

Thank you to the multiple services who looked after my Dad through many illnesses and his final days.

Thank you to the NHS still taking care of my Mum in her 92nd year and 12th year of dementia.

Thank you for caring for all the people I love under tremendous pressure.

Precarious, pioneering and precious.

Again, sincere thanks.


The NHS turns 70 on the 5th July 2018 –  Follow our countdown to the NHS’s 70th birthday as we post a blog a day.  #NHS70 #70BlogsTo70 @InvolveT1

Take a look at NHS England’s website to find out what else is being planned for the big day and for more information on how to get involved. https://www.england.nhs.uk/nhs70/

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