We’re too aware from the press of unfortunate people who’ve suffered in certain hospitals, or at the hands of careless NHS staff. Where serious illnesses have developed it must be desperately frustrating for bereaved relatives if the cause was incompetence and could have been prevented.
So I feel almost guilty and apologetic as I report a completely opposite experience in the NHS. Back in 2003 I had a triple by-pass operation, but a thickening of an aortic valve was detected. With unfailing regularity since then I have been called in to either the Eastbourne DGH or The Royal Sussex Hospital to have this valve monitored. Eventually a replacement implant was decided upon for June this year.
The was never a failure to remind me to go for my regular ECG or ultra-sound examinations.
The technicians (and they should have a better title to reflect their long training and experience) were always polite and helpful.
The doctors or consultants who interviewed me after those tests and before and after the implanting procedure were tolerant of my many questions and went out of their way to offer me reassurance about what was to be done to my heart, and how.
The care from all these people just goes on and on.
The nursing staff of the cardiac recovery ward were pleasant, efficient, and tolerant of the leg-pulling by patients in the all-male ward. As were the catering staff who, though not naturally English speaking, enjoyed the conviviality.
Then, after all these people came the rehabilitation team. These highly qualified and experienced nurses phone regularly to ask how you are, and to arrange consultations and a fitness regime.
I am writing all this for two reasons, the first being further thanks for everyone’s work.
I was discharged from the Royal Sussex a month ago and I think of them every day in gratitude for my well-being.
I also offer advice to anyone in this part of the UK who is in any way nervous of heart surgery, or any aspect of treatment of its condition.
If you have any sensation that seems unusual and it proves to be a cardiac condition, do please have confidence in the people and the systems here for you.