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OPNION: A heartfelt plea to Health Minister and MP Steve Barclay

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I’ve written this letter to Health Minister Stephen Barclay as a plea for help being an NHS worker.

I doubt whether I’d get a reply but I’m trying to make some impact as it’s impossible to our job anymore!

I’m a 20-year-old, healthcare support worker apprentice nurse so really as bottom in the hospital chain you can get, so I doubt I will get a reply.

Let me know what you think, no worries if it’s not going to work out. I thank you for your time.

Dear Stephen Barclay MP,

I’m writing to you today as I am a 20-year-old Healthcare Support Worker/Apprentice Nurse in the NHS, working twenty minutes away from your constituency.

I am pleading with you to save our healthcare system as it currently is on the verge of collapse.

The day starts with a brief handover, where the previous shift’s workers detail to us the struggles of the previous day or night and the terrible conditions that both staff and patients endured.

Despite the shift only just beginning, you look around the room and see tired, concerned, and drained faces, as most haven’t had time to recover from their last work period.

The conversation then moves on to transfers, where we hear who is going to get moved to another ward to balance the numbers because there is so much staff sickness in the understaffed wards.

Taking time off is an absolute last resort, and yet many are already in this position.

Every staff member works their body to the bone and keeps going until they physically can’t anymore.

Every day we have to take on a workload which many governing bodies have declared unsafe, and yet nothing ever changes!

Despite being a trainee, I have to look after fourteen patients with the help of two nurses!

Understandably, every patient wants a wash or toilet when they need to – the current situation in the health service means that we have to unwillingly leave patients for over an hour soiled.

For twelve and half hours each member of the nursing team is non-stop – there is never a true opportunity to sit down.

From the moment I enter until my break, to the moment I leave. I walk near to 3 miles a day up and down the ward.

The caterer is usually left with one person in a ward with 32 patients. They are required to feed patients, whilst others in the ward are screaming for their loved ones, writhing in pain, and slowly worsening.

I could go on and on, lamenting about how we break ourselves to keep the NHS running on its last leg.

I could talk about how Covid continues to hammer our hospital when the rest of the world seems to think of the pandemic as a distant memory.

I could talk of the time I had to sit with a patient on a shift while they spoke through the plan of how they wanted to die.

I could say about the tears I have to wipe away from my colleagues as they question their careers.

I could say about the abuse we get from the public daily because of the government’s incompetence to save the NHS.

Saskia Dingemans: “I could talk of the time I had to sit with a patient on a shift while they spoke through the plan of how they wanted to die.”

But I don’t need to go on. The government, yourself included, have been aware of the dire state of the NHS for a long time.

You have chosen not to intervene. Instead, you criticise us in the media for taking a stand. You choose to let the patients and the staff suffer.

People think we are striking for fair pay. While this is partially true, most nurses have chosen to strike to bring awareness to the poor conditions they are expected to work in, and the poorer conditions patients have to suffer.

I understand that the country’s financial situation is not fantastic, and we hear often that we have no money, inflation is high, and other sectors are struggling too.

Saskia Dingemans: “The government, yourself included, have been aware of the dire state of the NHS for a long time. You (Stephen Barclay )have chosen not to intervene. Instead, you criticise us in the media for taking a stand. You choose to let the patients and the staff suffer.”

But when I hear about the luxuries that MPs provide themselves with – subsidised canteens, second homes, thousands in expenses – I don’t feel angry, I feel hurt and betrayed by the people who were meant to be running the country for our benefit.

I will continue to fight and do what is asked to serve the NHS. I have vowed to give my life to nursing and dedicate my entire career to it.

The health service is a fantastic gift from a distant past when healthcare wasn’t easily accessible. But, thanks to a lack of investment and care, it’s no longer serving its purpose.

As the UK changes and transforms, the NHS needs to evolve alongside us.

I thank you or whoever reads this email.

I hope you have heard my plea and can feel the pain we are all in and do something before we lose one of the biggest assets our country has to offer.

 

Yours faithfully,

Saskia Dingemans

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