NHS at 70: Health workers of the future share their views on the service

Robyn Dean hopes to become a medic.
Robyn Dean hopes to become a medic.

In hospital with her grandmother who had suffered a stroke, Robyn Dean got an insight into the work of doctors for the first time.

She was 15 when she watched staff at Airedale Hospital help her late grandma Elizabeth, working together to plan out how they would care for her.

“It made me realise and start to understand what the doctors did day to day,” she said. “From then on, I thought medicine would be something I would be interested in doing.”

Inspired by both the caring and scientific side of the career, Miss Dean, from Grassington, undertook periods of work experience at a GP surgery and on the neurology ward at Leeds General Infirmary.

A year out of education following her A-Levels, saw her work as a receptionist at a GP surgery in Keighley, volunteering for an Age UK shop and running activities for the elderly at a care home.

Miss Dean then started studying clinical sciences at The University of Bradford in September and hopes to go on to study medicine.

She said: “I really enjoy the scientific aspect of things. It is a job where I can combine the science element and how drugs work with the caring role. You aren’t only treating a patient, you have empathy and compassion towards them too.”

Miss Dean, 19, has already seen first hand the pressures the NHS is under both in GP and hospital care, with doctor and nurse staffing shortages putting strain on the system.

But she told The Yorkshire Post: “People have learned to deal with what they are faced with and work with what they have got.

“The NHS is very resourceful, always coming up with solutions to change the way things work to make the system better for patients and the staff that work within it.”

And, with the help of dedicated staff and passionate students training in health, she believes the “relic of the country” will thrive into the future.

She said: “There is a lot of people that fight for the NHS and want it to carry it on. With them, it will strive and continue.

“I believe it is a right that people gain access to healthcare, not a privilege, and I think that has a lot to do with why it has thrived for so long.

“People want to keep it going because it gives healthcare to a lot of people. If I am able to contribute to that and give something back, it’s great.”

Nursing student Laura Outhwaite said she hoped with medical advancements and more services, the NHS would have at least another 70 years ahead of it.

Reflecting on the service as she completes a degree in adult nursing, the 25-year-old Leeds Beckett University pupil said:“I hope it will go for another 70 years. I hope it is there for my lifetime and for my children’s lifetime.

“I think it is going to keep developing and we will get more services and medical advancements.

“We’re really proud of our NHS and everyone that works there gives so much of their time, I think that’s why it has been going so long.”

Miss Outhwaite started her course in September 2015, after four years working as a healthcare assistant, first doing home visits and later in a secure unit for people with poor mental health and learning disabilities.

She told The Yorkshire Post: “I have always been interested in health and social care and I loved my role as a healthcare assistant, seeing different people every day and supporting people long-term and getting to know them.

“I was dealing with a wide range of things from MS to dementia and I liked how varied it was. It was really community based and I liked the caring side of it, looking after people.”

Her degree has involved a combination of theory and practical work, including placements on Leeds hospital wards and out in community teams, delivering one-to-one care to people in their own homes.

She has secured a job as a community nurse in Doncaster from September.

She said: “As nurses you don’t really stop to think about it every day, but it is very rewarding helping people. You do get emotional sometimes as well when you see patients for long periods. You see them more than you see your family.”