In the early days, my memories of Jane are limited to her being on all fours, peering at me from the edge of my bed.

I am under my bed because it is drink time and I do not under any circumstances do drinks.

Jane is on all fours, holding a plastic cup of water with a straw.

She is telling me, patiently, calmly, that I should come out now, because I am going to have to come out soon anyway.

I am shouting at her because I can stay there for my whole life if I want to.

At some point, the plastic cup of water with the straw is thrown against the wall.

Jane tries again.

Jane, to introduce her formally, was my key worker. She was the person who was responsible for my wellbeing on the ward, and the person to whom I would talk about anything and everything. I am struggling here, as much as I love words, to describe Jane. She was kindness and love and empathy.

Jane and her patience and her calmness was the reason I got better.

But it wasn’t just Jane. It was everyone I had contact with: the nurses, the doctors, my consultant, the occupational therapists, the Tissue Viability Nurse who rode a motorbike and came to stare at my pressure sore every day for a while.

I was thinking about how to write this post – a post that says thank you on the seventieth anniversary of the birth of the NHS – and wondering how I could make it not about me.

But the point is that it is about me, as it is about you and your family, your friends and their families.

That is why the NHS is so wonderful.

It is there for you. When you need it, it is there.

It is about personal stories and triumphs, tragedies and despair.

It is not about figures and statistics because, if it were, it would not be such a fantastic service.

The problem is that we tend to see the NHS as faceless. It is an indebted, bureaucratic, failing sinkhole of rules and regulations. It is not like it used to be.

And maybe, sometimes, it is.

But what the NHS actually is is the people who get out of bed each and every morning to get on their hands and knees and proffer a drink to someone who is frightened and confused and likely to shout and throw it at them.

And so, on the seventieth birthday of the institution that has created, nurtured and saved the lives of so many of the people I know and love, I want to say thank you to Jane and Mel, Shikila, Dimple, Hollie, Rebecca, Caroline, Yvonne, Vicky, Bhavna and Krishna; Esther, Rachel and Lisa; Dave, Andy, Faye and Hannah; Jayne, Maureen, Mama Pauline, Auntie Dawn and Helen, Dr Tom and Maddie.

Because they are my NHS.

And the NHS saves lives.

2 thoughts on “Jane

  1. Yes the NHS does save lives. And yes it is ok for it to be about you Kate because, as you say, ‘you’ (i.e. you or any patient) are why the NHS exists and ‘you’ are what drives it. Political interference will always occur and money will always be tight, but, and I speak as a mental health nurse of 30 years standing as well as a mum trying to support a daughter through anorexia, without ‘you’ and those who love ‘you’ the NHS would not be needed so it is important that it is all about ‘you’. And don’t underestimate how much you yourself give back through your blog. You have been very helpful to me, thank you.


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