Hospital offers warm haven for the long journey ahead

From: Brenda Hammonds, Otley, Leeds.

AFTER a serious operation in Leeds General Infirmary, where my mother (aged 86) received excellent care, she was transferred to Bexley Wing at St James’s Hospital as an out-patient.

She cried when she found out she was going to “the cancer hospital” and it was with great trepidation that I pushed her in a wheelchair, scared and fragile through those enormous doors.

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From the moment we arrived, it was clear that this place was different. From the receptionist who showed us where to go, to the doctor who had rung me at 7pm one Friday night to explain why my mum had been transferred to his speciality and the implications of her illness, the care, respect, and kindness from everyone who works there is awesome.

The place is huge and the clinics are very busy, a sad testimony to the number of people affected by this horrible disease.

The waiting times can be lengthy but somehow it doesn’t matter because you know that every patient, and their carers, are getting as much time as they need.

The doctors come out personally to greet each patient and lead them to their consulting rooms. A small thing but very special when you are scared and bewildered by what is happening to you.

The clinical nurse specialists, in our case Alison and Robyn, are always there for you, they look after your medical appointments and arrange procedures but they also offer counselling and support for even the most mundane requests.

The hospital recognises the needs of the whole family and offers holistic treatments, massage and beauty treatments for the patient and their family. Macmillan also has a strong presence with leaflets and advice from helpers in the waiting areas, sensitive to those who reach out for help and those who just want to be left alone.

My mum is doing well now, she is strong enough to start chemo next week. We still have a long journey ahead but when we walk through those huge doors next week we are not as scared because we can expect nothing but the best from this fantastic hospital and the wonderful caring staff.

How lucky is Leeds to have such a place? Long live the NHS!

From: Peter Clegg, Witton Gilbert, Durham.

WHAT a pleasure to read Malcolm Barker’s writings on the NHS and the dignity of the elderly (Yorkshire Post, July 2).

If only Tom Richmond’s column on the same page could have been written in similar vein, and without the offensive overtones that his political expertise always seems to require.