On reading and listening to the radio regarding criticism of the NHS, I would like to put forward my recent experience of the care, dedication and professionalism I received from Wansbeck General Hospital.
I am a 79-year-old gentleman who had multiple heart attacks 18 years ago.
On Thursday, November 6, I thought I was having a reoccurrence of a chest infection that had troubled me in recent weeks.
On contacting the surgery at Bedlington Medical Centre at 3.45pm to ask for an appointment with my GP for the following day, they advised that unfortunately none were available for then, but if I could manage to get there for 4pm that day a slot was available with the duty doctor, who was Dr Starkey.
On examination he found my breathlessness was not caused by a chest infection but my heart rate was dangerously low.
From then on, within minutes I was transferred to the resuscitation ward at Wansbeck, where the doctors and nurses were waiting.
From then on the care and dedication would be simply an understatement.
I had suffered what they called a complete heart block, my heart rate fluctuated from a low of 19 beats per minute to around 32ish.
When the staff managed to stabilise me I was immediately transferred to the ICU ward on coronary care at the hospital, where the specialist nurses worked all night to raise my heart rate by drugs to the minimum rate needed to be able to insert a pacemaker.
In total, from transfer to the coronary care unit to insertion of a pacemaker and back to the ward, it took 14 hours.
If it was not for that amazing quickness, care and dedication by the staff, of which I cannot thank them enough, I do not think I would be here today to be able to thank them publicly.
Bad press seems to be in abundance, but certainly not enough is said in praise of these wonderful, caring and dedicated people in our time of need.
We should be eternally grateful in this country for the NHS.
So my grateful thanks go out to the doctors, consultants and staff at Wansbeck General Hospital, the ambulance crew, and most certainly Dr Starkey, whose quick intervention certainly saved my life.