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Criticising the NHS? Perhaps you have never had a sick child

PUBLISHED: 10:05 01 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:11 01 March 2018

Picture: Vicki Cockerill

Picture: Vicki Cockerill

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I see it everywhere, on the town community board, in the waiting room and even on the bus.

Picture: Vicki CockerillPicture: Vicki Cockerill

People moaning about not being able to get an appointment, or how long it took them to call up only to be told to call back later, delays and endless waiting lists.

Every time I hear someone criticise the NHS I want to scream that yes; those things are mild annoyances, but they saved my son’s life and I will forever be in their debt.

When my son was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at just 12 hours old, it was the NHS who saved his life. They monitored, managed and looked after him in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for nine days. The NHS NICU Outreach Team came out to us, and the consultants followed up his care and monitored him until he was admitted to Great Ormond Street for open heart surgery.

It was the NHS that provided us with overnight accommodation the day before the op, and a flat to stay in whilst he recovered for 5 days. It was an NHS surgeon and his team who operated on and repaired my son’s heart. It is the NHS who every year gives him an annual check-up, his vaccinations and keep him healthy. They are the ones who fit him and his brother in if I ring up the GP despite being full.

Picture: Vicki CockerillPicture: Vicki Cockerill

The NHS saved my son’s life and they continue to do so. If we were living in America for example, this could be such a different story. Do you really think we would all be moaning if we had to pay for everything? Consultations, ultrasounds, surgery? Would we all be rushing to get into the GP at 8am on a Monday then? Would we all be turning to the Dereham Community Board to moan (yes, probably!)

We live in a country where we have access to the NHS, in my eyes it is a privilege many in the world do not have. I believe everyone who works for the NHS, the GP’s, receptionists, nurses, doctor’s, surgeons and midwives all go under appreciated and un-thanked and normally blamed for something that is beyond their control.

We have had some amazing people help us the last three years, the doctor who admitted and diagnosed Elijah, the consultant we see every year, the nurse who comforted me when they took him down to surgery after asking if she could walk us down there, the two midwives who I remain in touch with, our family GP I wonder when the last time someone actually said thank you instead of complaining at them?

If you have ever had to hold your son whilst he is being put to sleep not knowing if you will see him awake again, and him being given back to you to take home you wouldn’t moan.

I am happy to wait for an appointment for myself, I am happy to go see a pharmacist before I make one, I am happy to be the 20th caller in the line, as I look over to my three-year-old son running around the room and realise that they are doing a great job.

Mistakes can get made, pay cuts affect service and wait times but sometimes I think we need to put a few things into perspective and realise how lucky we are.

Perhaps if we all stopped moaning and criticising and put that energy into how we can help support, and improve the NHS we would all be better off.

Before you next start complaining about NHS please think of the many children like Elijah who are here today because of them.

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