Cardiff Connect, News

The NHS at 70: “An experience not available in any textbook” – Alex Gordon (Medicine 2014-)

In one way or another I’ve been a part of the National Health Service (NHS) since 2012, having started my career as an Auxiliary Nurse prior to beginning my studies at Cardiff’s School of Medicine.

That initial vocational experience has served me well, and given me incredible insight into the many cogs involved in keeping the NHS running. It’s the fifth-largest employer in the world, and everyone works together for the benefit of the patient.

I’m now in my fourth year at Cardiff, and in that time I’ve been on placements across Wales. In different wards and hospitals which span a range of specialities, the one constant is the commitment and professionalism of NHS staff.

The experience itself is not available in any textbook; I could never have become a doctor without first being fully immersed in hospital life. As students, we’re lucky that we benefit from that on a day-to-day basis at the University Hospital of Wales.

It’s a bit of a cliché, but these people and places have inspired me to keep working towards my goal. The NHS is where I see my future career, and it’s something I feel really passionate about.

Working in this environment forces you to consider the brilliance of the system – particularly how a patient can have thousands of pounds worth of emergency treatment and not have to worry about settling the bill at such a stressful time.

We have to remember how lucky we are. Health inequality is far less prevalent in the UK than in many other countries, and it’s truly my belief that socioeconomic factors should not dictate someone’s access to healthcare. Those were the values at the heart of the NHS 70 years ago, and the same is true today.

There is always talk at the moment about pressures on the NHS, and what our service will look like in future years. “The NHS will last as long as there’s folk with faith left to fight for it,” is a quote attributed to its founding father, Nye Bevan.

If we have people as compassionate and committed as those I meet on a daily basis, it will continue to serve us. Here’s to the next 70 years.