Well-timed cups of tea By Jan Needle

Watching the world stumbling open eyed into ever increasing danger over the last couple of months has been a pretty distressing process. We all know that the only thing we learn from history is that history teaches us nothing, but this is ridiculous, surely?

Boris, Brexit, Mr Donald – need I go on? Well yes. How about Theresa’s trousers? The fact that some dildo can be bothered to make rude remarks about them, finessed by the fact that she gets the sack for it… well, truly the mind boggles.
Only pic I could find. Gloomy enough?

But the really confusing thing, surely, is that in the midst of all this barking infantility, what politicians laughingly call normal people (how could they possibly know what normal is?) carry on being as wonderful as ever.

I've just spent a week in Brighton, from where I travelled to London for the funeral of an old family friend called Gwen. I went by train, and it was not a lot of laughs.  The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling (appointed to do for the railways what he did for the prison service, I imagine) is refusing to intervene on the grounds that the chaos on the line is political. And therefore, presumably, nowt to do with him.

Now Gwen was a pretty remarkable woman, and the funeral, for want of a better word, was lovely. She died rapidly from a brain tumour, after an extremely long and colourful life. But her daughters Jane and Vicky, who were with her day and night for the last three weeks of her life, were moved to write a letter to the Brighton Argus about the care and treatment she received.

The headline, perhaps, says it all:

Humbled by selfless staff at under-fire NHS hospital

'While acknowledging that there are problems at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, as highlighted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) earlier this year, we would like to draw attention to some of the areas where the hospital is providing outstanding service and models of patient care.

'Over a period of almost 3 weeks my sister and I were able to observe at first hand, 24-hours a day, the extraordinary care and compassion delivered by the staff of Emerald unit, who look after elderly and very vulnerable patients, when our mother, aged ninety-one years, was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

'She spent her last weeks in the unit and we were allowed to be present day and night during this very difficult period and given every kind of support, from well timed cups of tea to thoughtful reassurance.

'We were also involved in the choices made by the doctors and nurses every step of the way and witnessed how all the patients, at all times, were treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

'This was achieved, in the face of ever diminishing resources, by the most extraordinary cooperation and teamwork across all levels of staff in the unit.

'Given the current debate about the future of the NHS and the precarious position of EU residents in this country we would like to make two further points.

'The staff that looked after our mother came from all over the world including EU member countries – the unit could not function without them.

'The future of the NHS is inextricably bound up with the selfless dedication and service of these people alongside their British colleagues.

'The unit for us provided a model of the ways a multicultural and caring society might function.

'This was a privilege and also a humbling experience.

'We owe a massive debt of gratitude to all the staff there.

'In these troubled times it is important to remember how much we depend on the kindness of strangers.'

Jane Collins and Victoria Lowe, Montpelier Crescent, Brighton.

There’s hope for all of us. And PS, If there's no such word as infantility, there damn well oughter be.
     Jan, there is now. - Editor


Sandra Horn said…
Thank you, Jan. We had a simiar experience when my mother died in hospital. They cared for all of us so sweetly and thoughtfully in her last days, and they were from everywhere.
Bill Kirton said…
Great post, Jan, and much needed in the context of the privileged, 'entitled' nobodies who, as you say, claim to speak and act on behalf of 'normal' people and yet know eff all about anything beyond their own power games. My own experience back in 2012 in the cardiac unit after a valve replacement was that the staff managed a remarkable combination of caring and professionalism. Their tolerance levels were astonishing and they created an ambience that was a perfect antidote to the stresses some of the patients were feeling. The real NHS staff - i.e. the ones who do the work - are priceless. Nonentities such as Jeremy Hunt are of a different species. Grrrr.
Enid Richemont said…
Oh such a moving post.
julia jones said…
O well said! And I will point out that Emerald ward was one of the first places we visited when researching for John's Campaign. I was going to say a beacon of excellence but actually I just mean compassionate human-kindness. Thanks jan
Kathleen Jones said…
A wonderful post Jan. I seem to want to cry most of the time these days.
Dennis Hamley said…
Late again. But this is a wonderful, true post, backed up with my own observation - and direct personal experience - time and time again. There is good in this raped and degraded world after all.
glitter noir said…
Jan, I'm late too and am sorry for that. Thank you for the beautiful and uplifting post.

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