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We need to embrace NHS workers from all over the world



Last week we had a bad day. My wife was knocked off her bike by a car and sustained nasty injuries. I don’t want to dwell on those, but I want to tell you my subsequent thoughts about our NHS and our Government.

Embrace the world, embrace the workers

The emergency services of the NHS wheeled into action and we ended up in our local A&E. This is a department under pressure, the recent recipient of a less than glowing CQC report. We spent the whole day there and were treated with compassion, attention to detail and respect by every single clinician and associated staff member. Porters, managers and cleaners were all involved and went out of their way to help make our day better. The working conditions were challenging to say the least. There were numerous beds in the corridor, doctors and nurses providing care to some very sick patients with no privacy, just getting on with their job as the ambulances rolled in on a Wednesday morning.

And do you know what? Some of the people working at the hospital were not even British! And do you know what, secretary of state for health? We didn’t give one little droplet of shit about it.

After the rhetoric at the governing party’s conference this last week, I have been left feeling even more angry. All those carers who looked after us did so because that’s what they do – they care.

Sickness has no boundaries, and care should have no barriers. The Government is systematically failing the public over the NHS, faffing over minutiae and getting all the big stuff wrong. Really all we ask for is somewhere safe to work, with enough staff and support to provide good care. We, the collective NHS, are on the edge and need all the help we can get. To alienate staff, tell them they are not wanted in the long term, and that we have a plan within these shores to staff the service over the next 10 years is both unrealistic and unpleasant.

My wife’s rehabilitation is just beginning, she is in good hands with clinicians from all over the world. The NHS is in need of some care as well – I’m afraid those in charge do not inspire the same confidence in me. Their care plan is disjointed, ill-thought out and discriminatory. Tremendous damage has already been done, and the goodwill has either disappeared or is under severe threat from the beating heart of the NHS which is made up of all who work within it.

We are heading down the wrong path. Embrace the world, embrace the workers. You never know when you might need them.

Richard Cook is a GP partner in Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex. You can follow him on Twitter @drmoderate