So thankful for my NHS care

Due to two separate stays in hospital it's been a while since I last put finger to keyboard for Speaker's Corner. My fan club tell me they have missed my ramblings, writes Councillor Chris Ash, Mayor of Peterborough.

Sunday, 28th October 2018, 11:00 am
Updated Sunday, 28th October 2018, 11:57 pm
Speaker's Corner columnists - Peterborough Telegraph -, @peterboroughtel on Twitter,

Thank you both - your kind comments are appreciated, but to everyone else sorry it’s my turn again.

Having come back from a successful operation at Papworth in August, I was last month unexpectedly held up at the City Hospital for a couple of weeks.

Hanging around doing nothing while waiting for tests and medication to get me sorted got a bit tedious, but I did like being look after. So I am going to use this opportunity to say an open thank you to everyone on the cardiac ward at the City Hospital for the care and attention I received.

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I am sure everyone who has been at the hospital will, like me, have experienced excellent care .

Hopefully, now I am armed with pills I shall keep going for a good while longer.

Medical care has come a long way in the 70 years of the NHS. As care and treatment improves, so the costs and stress of dealing with more patients increases. It’s clear to me that staff at the sharp end in our hospitals are ready, willing and able to meet that demand.

I do wonder, though, if there is just too much bureaucracy these days putting extra unnecessary strains onto those doing the real day to day work of providing a service to people like you and me. Systems are, of course, essential to tie things together, but does it go over the top and only keep more than enough suits and bean counters in highly paid jobs. Well that’s my thoughts, and I am sure you all have your own pet peeve on that.

We are told that too many people are going direct to A & E rather than their GP. I reckon to some extent its the system itself that encourages using that walk-in service because the attention one gets at the centre on Thorpe Road, or at A & E, is for many worth the wait. Besides, we don’t fall ill at convenient times, and when we do we want - and sometimes need - urgent treatment. I can’t help feeling that for the most part the GP service is more of a production line with little time to discuss any details and the GP is kept very busy with the simple routine stuff.

Given the soundbites and rehash of various ideas and seemingly half baked thoughts, I do wonder if government departments truly investigate and study what goes in the world beyond Westminster. Isn’t it time that instead of having fancy ideas that may or may not work, the secretary of state asks real people and those doing the job at the working end what might work and what wont?

Last week the new council offices using the old Eastern Railway sheds were officially opened. This was the very first railway station in Peterborough, opened way back in 1845. It’s so good to see the old Victorian railway buildings put back into use. Looking around the building I wondered what it must have been like for those workers way back in early Victorian times – grim I reckon.

Early railway travellers had to get to London via Blisworth along the line that now forms part of the Nene Valley railway, or via March. This part of our railway history is now overshadowed by the main line from London . Those early railway pioneers, builders and designers of the 1840s helped kick off the city’s transformation. They are a part of the city’s heritage, and must not be forgotten .

So I put out a challenge to our council chiefs, and ask them to work with railway historians and put on a display of mementos and guides to the work of the early railway engineers and directors of those early railways .

Finally, the Poppy Appeal launch is tomorrow in Queensgate at 11am. This year we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1918 armistice .

In commemorating the end of the Great War we must remember the ruined lives and destruction that wars always bring. While we condemn despots and fundamentalist groups who bring nothing but hate and destruction, our nation continues to manufacture machines of war to sell around the world.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

I believe it is important that all of us , young or old, whatever our background, take time out to remember not just fallen heroes but all those who put their lives on hold across our nation.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, take two minutes on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month for your own personal silent thought and reflection.