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Steve Smith

Dear Big Up The NHS, I live in Northamptonshire and am currently an outpatient of the Urology Dept at Kettering General Hospital being treated for bladder cancer.  I also suffer from a primary lymphedema on my right side that can be quite debilitating and is always a consideration when I have to go into hospital.  The primary lymphedema took several years to diagnose so I have quite some experience of the GP to hospital experience over many years.

The NHS improved massively under the Labour Party and I know it was at some substantial cost but in recent years and especially during my treatment for cancer it has hit harder times.  There are higher risks for patients due to the immense pressure on all departments and I am increasingly concerned about what that may mean for outcomes for patients for the future.  Both from the GP perspective and the direct care to patient frontline areas.

The Urology team are great and work their butts off for the NHS as do the theatre staff and the nurses at the treatment centre.  They are always under massive pressure and go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure I get my treatment.  Having been diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012 I have met most of the Consultants and Registrars at one time or another and several anaesthetists.  Thorough and competent they have got me, so far, to my first clear result and although I know it is more likely than not that it will recur I am comfortable with that as I know they will help me get through it again.  Despite the 'appointments' pressures!

I have to make a special mention of Mr Freeman, Anesthetist , who I believe hit 70/71 last year, and on my very first contact with him he asked how my husband was getting on.  He remembered him from an operation some several months before.  He took excellent care of me and due to his natural manner of overt 'inclusion in your care' made me look more carefully at the way staff deal with patients.  I really cannot fault the wonderful people who have treated me at Kettering Hospital.  Always respectful, always talk to me as if I am part of 'their' community not just a customer.  It really has been a joint venture over the past 2 years defending me against attack.

It has been a bit of a love hate relationship though at times.  I love the staff with their calm and friendly manner but hate how they have to work with constant shortages of staffing, beds and theatre time.  I hate having to complain to people who don't deserve my ire.  I have had to chase quite a bit for appointments but thanks to my wonderful specialist nurses Rachel and Janine we have developed a great relationship regardless.  I said to Janine one day that I was sorry I had to complain about the issue and she replied 'No you must do that it is your right' and put a hand on my arm.  She meant it.

The NHS isn't perfect and I could tell you lots of positive and negative anecdotes about my travels through the NHS during the past 10 years but instead I wrote a poem about the NHS as seen through my eyes.  I couldn't send it to be included in your 'NHS verse' section as it is just far too long and I apologise for my tendency to waffle a bit when writing about this subject.

However, here is my view with some passion, perhaps some naivety #but overwhelmingly my heartfelt thanks



Your aren't the perfect partner and you sometimes let me down

You often are too busy, no time to play the clown

#But just like all relationships we try to muddle through

You do your best and still slip me a little smile or two

Your timing for some promised dates has sometimes made me mad

You have so many partners one could think you're quite the cad

#But in truth you are pure of heart just smothered by the muddle

So many demands upon your time we need to clone you double!


Your fashion sense needs some work you know it makes me frown

You are just so damn practical with that bare back, weird, tied gown

#But the worst part of your dress sense really gets some flack

Those stockings that you make me wear?  So NOT the new black

Of course I have to mention the lingerie you always buy

And those 'Cinderella' slippers that almost make me cry

#But not with tears of upset no that is just my humour

I hear they arn't just for us girls or is that a nasty rumour?


The last few years I've needed you to give me much more time

I've even done some pouting and reminded you you're mine

#But you didn't get impatient you were careful not to ire

You do your best to keep me calm even under fire

At present we are on a break you said 'You're clear now go!'

You gave me a hug and I skipped off out, the wrong way don't you know!

#But it is not a separation of that I can be sure

I know 'we'll meet again' when I need a date once more.


You will have me back with open arms (once I've chased your butt)

You will give me your attention and again you'll make the cut

#But as usual I'll be worried and you will put me at my ease

You're such a smoothie face to face aiming so to please

With all that said I have to raise a TINY little matter

I've heard some things about you in amongst the chatter

It seems someone is making you break our sacred pledge

I've heard you're being shackled with some partners in some hedge?


I've been told you have no choice you have to sell your wares

To some pirates roving round the world trading in some shares

I'm no brains of Britain but I know it isn't right

To let them sell your soul away without putting up a fight

I have to raise this question for others and for me

Is it really moral profiteering from misery?


They didn't ask my opinion!  No contract have I signed!

I've twittered and I've tweeted, the interweb I've mined!

There is no signed agreement from any of your babes!

Yes I mean me and millions more, sixty plus decades!!!

#BUT it seems we were cuckolded, mislead and lies were told

#BUT I won't shut up about it this really is too bold!

Our only common ground built with blood and sweat and tears

Going to gamblers' immoral earnings? No way! No sir! No fear!


Big Up The NHS!!!!  It's yours too!

#butNHS #saveourNHS #NHS66

Sincerely and faithfully yours,

Mrs Linda Schmidt

Grateful Patient


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