Why this nurse’s daughter has no faith in Jeremy Hunt

Dear Mr Cameron,

I didn’t vote for you, mostly because some of your policies are set to cause terrible damage to the country I live in. None more so than the dismantling of the NHS.

Jeremy Hunt has no medical background and knows absolutely nothing about healthcare. He believes that water than once encountered an onion is medicine. He’s wrong.

The NHS was born in 1948 and I was born in 1986. The hospital where I was born still exists, and needs serious work to modernise it. That same hospital is where my mum, a nurse and midwife, worked and it saved my life a few times.

I was a week late sauntering into the world with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck, turning slightly blue. That was swiftly removed and I was sent home to grow up.

Aged 10 I stopped breathing, I was rushed to hospital on oxygen – an allergen I’d not encountered before closed my airways. Luckily swift intervention meant I could grow up some more.

Aged 18 I tried to kill myself, the doctor I told at university told me it was a phase and let me go. Aged 28 I tried again, this time I was believed and started therapy at that same hospital.

I have physical issues too – PCOS, a painful growth of cysts on my overies, something I hope your daughters never deal with. An under active thyroid that means whatever I eat I can’t lose weight.  Both are treated by medicine, medicine I don’t pay for because they’re lifelong conditions.

I do however pay my taxes and National Insurance, happily, knowing it keeps the NHS saving lives.

My mum has been a nurse since she was 17. I won’t embarrass her by saying how old she is now, but trust me when I say that’s most of her life. She’s studying for her PhD in nursing at the moment, while working full time and looking after my dad, a diabetic with a chronic heart condition, and my sister who has complex learning and behavioural needs. My mum now has osteoporosis. Probably due to a kidney disease she had as a kid (treated by the NHS).

You want a 24/7 healthcare system, but don’t understand that hospitals, A&Es especially, are already at breaking point. Doctors and nurses work ridiculously long shifts, sleep maybe a few hours, then work again. They have no personal life, no time to socialize or relax.

Fewer and fewer young people want to train for 7 years, graduate with huge debts and all but wall themselves inside a hospital for their adult lives. I can’t imagine why.

Two weeks ago there was a tube strike – doctors cannot strike and are paid less than tube drivers to save lives.

My mum moved from the wards when she became a parent, the hours are incompatible with family life. But as a ward sister, she had risen high in the hospital. She worked at Great Ormond Street, the RNOH, the Aids clinic in Soho in the 80s, the maternity unit at Northwick Park (where I was born) and many others.

She returned to nursing – her capacity for caring is boundless. She now works in North West London as a school nurse – which is much more than just vaccinations. She attends child protection meetings, visits families at home, deals with parents, teaches sexual health in schools, during the H1N1 scare she visited the homes of people with the flu and assessed them, repeatedly putting her own health at risk.

She’s not the only one.

Jeremy Hunt wouldn’t survive five minutes on the front line of the NHS. How would he cope being vomited, bled, shat on by the sick, how about easing the suffering of the dying or helping a woman give birth to an already dead child?

He wouldn’t. I honestly believe that he is a terrible health minister – no experience or actual knowledge, and without those you have an idiot with the belief that water that once met an onion is more able to cure someone than medicine prescribed by an educated, trained, knowledgeable doctor.

I implore you Mr Cameron, to do the right thing, remove Mr Hunt from this post and find someone (maybe an actual healthcare professional) to do the job fairly and justly. The NHS is worth saving, the lives it’s saved and continues to save prove that.