70 Years of the NHS

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In July 1948, the NHS was formed. It is something that we have all used at least once in our lives – when we were born. The thing with the NHS, is that it does not matter how much, or how little money you have, you have affordable healthcare available. We do not have to decide whether we eat this week, or whether we can afford to see a doctor, or have a prescription filled. In honour of those who work for the NHS, I want to share my story of the NHS with you   

In July 2012, I was very heavily pregnant eagerly awaiting the arrival of my first baby. It was hot, and I was very uncomfortable. Five days after my due date, the consultant had agreed to go ahead with induction. I was given the pessary at 5 PM, and by 7 PM I was getting regular contractions. At 9 PM, my partner (Jay) was sent home, ward visiting hours were over. I was in so much pain! I was perched on the edge of the bed because I couldn’t sit back, the pressure was too much. I tried people watching out of the window, and hooking up my TENS machine (which did nothing more than mildly distract me when I electrocuted myself)

I buzzed the midwife because I couldn’t take it anymore. She came and said I could have some paracetamol in an hour (I felt like throwing her out of the window at this point, and then telling her she could only have paracetamol!) The lady in the bed next to me being induced at the same time as I had – she admitted she was jealous – mine had worked, and hers hadn’t.

When the midwife came back with the paracetamol, she told me to get ready for the doctor to come and examine me – FINALLY! 

I admit, it took me about 15 minutes to get on the bed because of the pressure and how awkward it was to undress, but finally I was there! And the lovely doctor came in and began his examination – I held my breath, hoping all this pain was worth it “Well,“ he said “you’re about 4 cm, lets get you down to the labour ward.” Cue me bursting into tears, and declaring my undying love for him. I had it though! I had the go-ahead. I was in labour! The midwife  went to ring Jay while I got ready to move. Unfortunately it took me twice as long to get dressed as it took to get undressed. How was I meant to put my knickers back on on my own? As soon as I get down to the labour ward, they took them off me again anyway!

Now I was on the labour ward, I was allowed the good drugs! I was straight on the gas and air! They failed to site an epidural, so I had Remifentanil (like pethadine in a syringe driver) they were a good few hours after that! Jay and my mum arrived, I made a random phone call to my pregnant friend to tell her labour was bad (like she didn’t already know). I don’t really remember too much. But I do remember this overwhelming feeling that I wanted to push, I’m trying to stop myself bearing down – fighting the most natural feeling in the world. I was fully dilated for a whole two hours before Max was born – so when I did eventually push, he was out in three contractions. (It felt like so much more!) Then I had this gorgeous baby boy in my arms. He was all mine, cooked to perfection. 

Unfortunately things didn’t go to plan, I had a retained placenta and I had to go to theatre. I remember having to sit on the cord (it felt really odd!) while they gave me a spinal block, that they weren’t even sure was working properly. My only real memory that sticks out from that time, was the doctor with a torch on her head, and a glove up to her elbow while she is between my legs while they’re up in stirrups! Thankfully the student midwife, who delivered Max, stayed and held my hand – hours past the end of her shift, so I had someone there with me. 

Once I’m sorted and back on the ward, the paediatrician came to tell us that Max had an infection on his chest (Meconium Aspiration Syndrome) and he would need IV antibiotics. This meant a five night stay in transitional care for SCBU. They looked after us so well. Throughout all of it, the only charges we really paid were for the car parking, and a minimal amount for food for Jay from the hospital canteen. 

I have seen a picture doing the rounds on social media, showing a medical bill in America, where a woman was charged $15 for Skin to Skin contact with her baby! She was charged to hold her own baby!

Now I don’t know how much any of this really costs, but during our stay we had all of the following provided for us at no extra charge, and probably a ton more things that I haven’t even thought about!

Thank you to everyone at the NHS. For everything you do, everything you give up to help people like me, and my family.  

  • A bed for 2 nights on a ward for me
  • 4 nights in transitional care
  • 12 hours in the labour ward
  • Theatre for 3 hours complete with surgical team
  • Chest X-ray for Max
  • 5 nights in a SCBU cot
  • Clean bedding daily 
  • Tests daily to check the antibiotic level was safe to administer more
  • 3 lots of cannulation for Max
  • 2 lots of cannulation for me
  • Catheterisation
  • 3 blood tests for Max
  • 2 blood tests for me
  • Formula
  • Vouchers for Jay for money off meals in the hospital canteen
  • An additional bed in transitional care for my partner to stay too
  • Newborn hearing test
  • Heel prick testing
  • Daily access to bath/shower
  • Maternity pads (when I ran out because I didn’t think I’d be in a week) 
  • Medication

      • Oral Antibiotics for me

      • IV Antibiotics for 5 days for Max

      • Heparin Injections for 6 weeks for me

      • Anti-sickness meds

      • Paracetamol 

      • Entinox (Gas&Air)

      • Remifentalin (2 bags)

      • Spinal Block

      • Oxytocin Injection

      • Pessary to induce labour

      • Saline

      • Vitamin K injection for Max

      • Oramorph

      • Co-codamol

      • Iron Tablets

  • The Staff (at least this number of each)

      • Countless Midwives

      • 6 Consultants

      • 4 Anaesthetists

      • 3 Paediatricians

      • 5 SCBU nurses

      • Health Care Assistants 

      • Radiographer

  • The housekeepers/cleaners who worked quietly to empty the bins while me and my newborn were sleeping – an who stopped to congratulate me when we were awake.