We asked staff what the NHS means to them and we have had some lovely responses from a range of people.

Debbie Sargent, practice development lead for clinical skills:Debbie Sargent.png

I really think that despite all the difficulties all the trial and tribulations all the problems we still have the best health service in the world. Nowhere else can you go along and get treatment regardless of what your status is or your income or anything else.


Angela Wannop, practice education facilitator – bereavement team:Angela Wannop.png

I’ve worked in the NHS for over 20 years as a nurse and during that time I’ve had lots of different jobs. I’ve been lucky to meet lots of different people make lots of good friends and also had the opportunity to progress my career, I’ve done lots of training course and got more qualifications. On a personal level its helped lots of my friends and family and I think the NHS is Fab.

Sue Gallagher, patient representative:Sue Gallagher.png

So I was born in the same year as the NHS – my parents both worked in the NHS. My mum was in catering my dad was in admin. They both got to the top of their tree without going to university amazingly. My mums catering, she would say ‘I want this food cooked as if it was going to be served up to your grandparents so make it best you can’. My dad in his 20s used to escort somebody to their funeral if they didn’t have anybody because it was a geriatric hospital originally and some people were there because there wasn’t anywhere else. Then we gradually used NHS services I had an operation to straighten my knees when I was 9 and it’s still straight which is good. And then gradually we became patients in the NHS.

The big turning point was my husband who had Parkinson’s and vascular dementia and I looked after him full time for about 7 years until he was in care and we had a bit of a dodgy journey around health and care service which all seemed to land back on me. After he went into care, he died and I thought ‘it’s got to be better than this’ so I found some opportunities to get involved as the patient voice to say ‘if this were to change or that were to change it would be better’ and then more opportunities came my way – the more you get involved in these jobs you know the more they come! It has been utterly rewarding, totally energising and has also helped me deal with the journey I went through with Bob and the loss of Bob so it’s been healing in that sense as well.

David Polwarth, IT workshop assistant:David Polwarth.png

I haven't worked for the trust for very long, just over a year, but I'm immensely proud to work for the NHS. I love the fact that I work for an organisation who's bottom line isn't making money, our primary goal is simply to help people. something that aligns closely with my own personal values.

The thing I love most about the NHS is that when you leave aside all the problems it has had, attempts at restructuring, all of that, and break it down to it's most basic level, what the NHS is and always has been is a force for good in this world. We heal the sick and comfort the dying.

And even though my own part in that is very small, I'm no doctor or hero, I'm just a simple IT guy, I still take great pride in our mission and values, and do my best to support them, in my own particular way. 

Cara Martin, Communications Officer:Cara Martin.png

Without the NHS, I wouldn't be here today. I had a brain tumour at the age of 4 but thanks to all the professionals involved in my care, my tumour was surgically removed and it has had a minimal effect on my quality of life. I have admired the work of healthcare staff since then and feel honoured to have found a career I’m passionate about as a communications officer in my local NHS.

Rachel Jamieson, Operational Lead:Rachel Jamieson.png

To me the NHS is two things. Firstly it's my career, having left school at 16 and coming straight to work for the NHS as an apprentice, the NHS has given me opportunities which would have never of even crossed my mind. Secondly (as a big history geek!) it is a fundamental part of our history. The NHS was created in 1948 and we have seen it bring millions of babies into this word, provide life saving treatment and keep our grandparents with us for much longer. Working in the NHS, we will all at some point become part of that history.

Jacqueline Nicol, Lead governor:Jacqueline Nicol.png

Over the years, myself and my family, have used the NHS, as most of us have, whether in primary care or in a hospital setting. In my family it has also shown how excellent it can be in life threatening circumstances.

The NHS has meant that, despite the pressures and challenges it faces, it is there for all of us, It is, I believe, something we can be proud of.

Charles Kenneth Wright, Hospital Chaplain:Charles Kenneth Wright.png

I guess I am the oldest member of the Trust who remembers pre NHS times. My parents had to pay for me to get my tonsils out and on the principal of 'Buy one get one free' got my adenoids out at the same time. Later I had a grumbling appendix that caused me great grief, but they couldn't afford the cost of an operation, until the NHS started. I guess I was one of the first and had them out at Teddington Memorial Hospital. I found out that the surgeon was the King's surgeon who was demonstrating his commitment to the brand new NHS. Since then I've had my money's worth and wouldn't be alive except for the care I've received. I am proud to still be able to make a contribution which hopefully helps the holistic care the NHS endeavours to give.

Yvonne Salkeld, Head of Information Governance and Data Protection Officer: Yvonne Salkeld.png

The principles of the NHS from when it was first established still hold true today providing free health care at the point of need.  From cradle to grave, we all need the NHS at some time in our lives and it has given me over 36 years of an enjoyable and amazing career with friendships that have lasted a lifetime.    

The NHS is an amazing, yet complex, institution that I hope as a country we never take for granted what it gives to each and every one of us - the NHS is the most important Jewel in our countries Crown due to the dedication of staff who provide that much needed support when people are at their lowest ebb.   No matter what role you do in the Trust, be it on the shop floor or behind the scenes, we all have that ethos engrained in us, similar to a stick of Blackpool rock, that the NHS is here for providing the best patient care we can.

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