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“I am an Audio Typist based in the Child Health directorate (Paediatrics).  I joined the Trust in October 2008, initially working on the Estates Helpdesk and ID office, before moving to a few different departments and latterly joining paediatrics in 2016.  I work with a colleague to provide typing and admin support to a team of approximately 10 secretaries and around 15 consultants and specialist nurses.  I love the huge variation of clinics in paediatrics - I can be typing letters about epilepsy and diabetes one day, and bowels and bladders the next!  The most challenging part of the role was getting to grips with all the medical conditions and medication.

“Having spent most of my childhood in and out of Great Ormond Street Hospital and St Thomas’ in London, due to complications from a genetic disorder, I have seen from an early age the fantastic work the NHS staff do, day in, day out.  I was later to be thankful again for the great work NHS staff do, after my son, Reece, was born in 2000 and it was clear he also had the same genetic condition as me.  He was referred to my now colleagues in the Child Development Centre and seemed to be doing well, until 2004 when we were given the bombshell that he had cancer.  He subsequently spent a few months receiving treatment at St James’ Hospital, Leeds.  Fortunately he is now doing well, with no major long term health problems and will turn 18 at the end of the month.

“In 2015, almost 11 years to the day of Reece’s diagnosis, life dealt us another cruel blow.  I too was diagnosed with a rare cancer and transferred to St James’s.  Again I got to witness the amazing, caring and compassionate work done by NHS staff.  Having had such vast experience of being on the ‘other side’ of care, has helped me have a good understanding of how our patients and families may be feeling.

“I don’t remember a huge amount from my time as a patient at Great Ormond Street, but my parents often tell me how one orthopaedic consultant ran the ward in a very strict ‘old fashioned’ manner - even in the early 80’s.  No parents or visitors were allowed on the ward during ward round and instead had to wait in the playroom whilst he discussed with nursing staff the plans for each patient.  The nurses would then feedback this information to each parent once the doctor had left the ward.  I couldn’t imagine that happening now and much prefer how patients and families are involved in the decisions about care.

“The best piece of advice I have been given or heard is “Don’t worry about something you have no control over”.  I try and I have a positive outlook on life, even with all the challenges I have faced - but that’s not to say that I don’t have the odd day when I think “why me?” I often think that no matter how much I have had to deal with there is always someone worse off somewhere.

“The NHS often receives criticism, but I hope it’s here for a long time to come - and hope that we can celebrate its 100th and even 150th birthday, even if I’m not around to see the 150th!”

27 July 2018

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