National Treasures Rediscovered - Reverend Steve Jones

Reverend Steve Jones

Reverend Steve Jones of the Mission Community of Exmouth, Littleham and Lympstone - Credit: Steve Jones

Reverend Steve Jones writes for the Journal

Our family had the fascinating experience of living in the USA for ten years. During those years we had our fair share of hospital admissions.

If you have ever been in hospital in America, you will probably remember what happens when you arrive.

The first thing is that the medical staff rapidly work to identify and stabilise any life-threatening conditions.

For example, if you are a walk-in and there is a question mark about your heart or your breathing, you are whisked right in, evaluated, and treated by a whole team of people in minutes.

The second thing that happens is that after you have been stabilised, the finance administrator arrives in your ER cubicle to ask you how your care is going to be funded.

What a blessing it was to be able to pull out of your wallet a medical insurance card that would cover most of the hospital bills.

Most Read

My experience was that medical treatment in the USA was usually high-quality, comprehensive, and expensive.

It is a health system that prides itself on being the best in the world. No stone is left unturned, no test left undone, and everything is analysed and evaluated rapidly.

When we returned to the UK, we wondered how the National Health Service had fared during the time that we had been away, and how our UK medical services would compare with those we experienced in the USA.

If there is a time to really see what kind of stuff an organisation is made of, it is during a time of crisis. During the COVID pandemic I have frequently worked with professionals from our health services as part of my job as a priest, liaising with GP surgeries, visiting, and caring for sick people at home, undertaking hospital visits, and providing end of life care.

It is only recently, however, that our family has been able to witness the NHS and Social Care working up close and personal.

A little over three weeks ago a dearly loved older family member had a stroke, which appeared to have really disabled them.

They were taken first to Torbay Hospital for immediate intervention, assessment, and treatment.

Thereafter, they were transferred to Templar Ward at Newton Abbot Hospital, which is a stroke rehabilitation unit.

After a significant recovery of speech and limb movement, our family member was able to be discharged home to see if they could, again, live alone, albeit with a significant package of support. Following their return home, in the middle of this COVID crisis,

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust surprised us by providing a truly astonishing level of support, assistance, and resource, with input by staff from their Intermediate Care and Rapid Response teams.

Personal care support workers, occupational therapists, NHS drivers, COVID test nurses, physiotherapists, doctors, and managers all worked tirelessly to support our family member in their fight to recover some independence.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have counted seventeen different NHS and Social Care professionals who have supported our family member. What has floored me is that were I asked to assess the standard of professionalism and care offered by those individuals, I would have genuinely given each one of them a Five Star, Triple A rating.

They are incredible people. Every single one of them provided literally world-class care.

That would be a truly remarkable achievement for any health care system in perfect conditions, but during the coronavirus crisis it is positively miraculous. It seems to me that you can tell a great deal about a society by how they care for their sick and elderly.

We should all be justly proud of our NHS and Social Care systems.

Not only would I hope that all our amazing healthcare professionals could be paid what they are worth to our nation, but also that these two society-sustaining institutions could be recognised as the national treasures that they are.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter