Talking Point

For every story about delays, waiting times and problems with the NHS there are thousands more that never get told.

These stories occur every minute of every day, every day of the week and every week of the year.

These are the stories about successful operations, lives saved, babies delivered, and recoveries against the odds from accidents and illnesses.

Rarely do they make headline news but they do get reported. Not by Clive Myrie and his colleagues but by friends and families and often by the patients themselves. 

And whoever tells those stories is full of gratitude and admiration for the health care assistants, doctors, nurses and everyone involved in their care. Often people have to fight back the tears as they recall the kindness and attention shown to them.

We all know people who have told these stories. In fact, I am one of them. 

A few months ago I fell and broke my back. I was in hospital, terrified at the possible extent of my injuries and in considerable pain. But thanks to the NHS I have made a full recovery.

My life has returned almost to normal and yet it could have been so different.

Now, as a former employee of the NHS I am well aware of its issues and its shortcomings. I know about its complicated bureaucracy and the internal battles for funding, challenges with staffing which is a huge global issue.

And yet I still marvel at this organisation. In some areas it may be hindered with red tape, outdated systems and dilapidated buildings, but it is a genuine force for good.

It exists for no other reason than to help people, regardless of their circumstances. It is there for those who need it. Prince or pauper it is free care at the point of delivery. It has been doing that virtually from the day 75 years ago when it was ushered into life by Aneurin Bevan. 

The NHS is an organisation full of people, caring for people. Their commitment, dedication and hard work has never changed. They are the past, present and future of the NHS.

Someone I have got to know through Pinch Point Communications’ work over the past year is one of them. Steve Cook is managing director of Specialist Services at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey NHS Mental Trust.

He has been with the NHS helping people with mental health issues for more than 35 years. And he is unshakably optimistic about the NHS.

“The future of the NHS is really exciting,” he says. “There is massive investment in new services and real innovation.”

But he knows how vital people are to the health service. “Recruitment is really critical, we have to sell the future of the NHS to the public,” he says.

For the NHS begins and ends with people. And that’s why those stories about lives saved, respectful deaths, safe births and illnesses overcome can play such a crucial role.

So, to anyone who is thinking about working for the NHS I would say listen to the people who are alive today and forever grateful that the NHS exists.

🔗Sarah Pinch, Managing Director of Pinch Point Communications, says thank you to the NHS as it celebrates its 75th anniversary.

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