30 days to keep the NHS moving?

Almost free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, I’ll be free at last – er quite soon! Ok, forgive me for paraphrasing Dr King. I’m indulging myself as I’ve been in hospital for 48 hours. Sleeping on a tiny bed, with a plastic mattress in a bay with 4 other men. Three of whom snore their heads off, and the Stuart Sutcliffe of this merry band who appears to have whooping-cough or something, and has an even louder machine attached to him. This is not conducive to recovering from – admittedly routine and minor – surgery.

Royal Victoria Infirmary circa 1910

What is conducive to my recovery, though, are the terrific staff and facilities at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. The local hospital trust has spent £304 million in one of the largest health projects in the country. It’s almost finished now and will include

  • Brand new Trauma centre with Accident and Emergency
  • Critical care facilities
  • A Neuroscience centre
  • Infectious diseases unit
  • Diagnostic support facilities
  • The Great North Children’s Hospital
  • Northern Centre for Cancer Care
  • Renal Services Centre
  • Surgical Training Centre

All of these facilities will be world-class which is fantastic for the city, region and people who travel from all over the country for specialist treatment here.

Royal Victoria Infirmary circa 1997

These world-class facilities employ world-class staff. Caring, friendly, passionate staff, with superb training and brilliant attitudes. A lot of the doctors trained at the medical school in this hospital and chose to stay in the city. The nurses include people from all over the world who have settled here and add to the city’s culture and diversity. Apart from telling me that my laptop and dongle combo can affect machinery about the place, (which just sounds ridiculous, especially as there are two on the nurses’ station.) they’ve been a real delight. Keeping me comfortable and sharing a laugh with me. Telling me the backless gowns we’re made to wear are just for their entertainment. Turning a blind eye to the rubbish food that friends sneaked in. Seeing the man from the sixth bed in this bay through his last hours with care, consideration, and compassion.

Royal Victoria Infirmary circa 2012

All of which leads me to wonder just how much of this there would have been without a Labour government. How much of that £304 million would have been pumped into the trust? How many doctors and nurses would have been hired? Just what state would our National Health Service be in right now if we had not used our 24 hours to save it in 1997?

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One comment

  1. I have to agree the NHS has improved considerably since Labour came into power in 97. Particularly in reference to the money they have pumped into facilitating further learning higher job roles to aspire to.

    £304 million is not enough. In fact no amount of money will be enough to cover the NHS debt. If the conservatives came into power I am scared they would take a lot of the much needed money away.

    However, I am always thankful that 50% of what patients need in hospital is free in a sense. The way you describe the nurses humour, care, passion and positive attitudes has no value on it because it is priceless.

    Thank you for saying that. Politics often displays this negative attitude towards NHS care which irks me. I just wish they recognised the qualities in a Nurse more sometimes than the stats and figures.

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