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Amazing health staff deserve highest praise

No-one who read young Zac's story in the Belfast Telegraph (News, December 12) could fail to be moved by his plight.

For a 10-year-old boy to be told he has to wait for nearly four years for surgery to correct his painful condition is simply unacceptable in a civilised society.

This story should be a wake-up call to our politicians to cease their party political posturing and get back to work to sort out the mess that they have largely created.

However, I think it is time to say a word in favour of the hard-pressed NHS staff, of all grades and disciplines, who, in spite of all the problems they face on a daily basis, still manage to provide most of us with a service which at its best is still the envy of the world.

In May of this year, as a result of my being investigated for another condition, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I had suffered none of the signs or symptoms and a bowel cancer screening test had come back with a negative result.

Within five weeks of the original detection of the tumour, I had CT and MRI scans, had been seen by a consultant surgeon and been operated on to remove the cancer from my body.

Shortly afterwards, I was told that cancer cells had been detected in a lymph node and I was immediately referred to the Mandeville Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital, the same hospital where I had been operated on. I am currently completing a course of oral chemotherapy to minimise the risk of the cancer returning.

At every stage of the process, I encountered many people who were involved in my treatment and I can say that, without exception, every single one of them performed their duties with the greatest skill, care and good humour.

I can confidently say that I could not have received better treatment anywhere in the world, at any price, and, put simply, I owe them my life.

I am sure my experience is far from unique and I feel it is time to pay tribute to the care and skill of each and every one of our health service workers. We expect a lot from them (possibly too much in cases), but we should celebrate what is good about the NHS at least as much as castigate those instances where the service is less than what we'd like.


Moira, Co Down

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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