Just after 07:00 this morning outside University Hospital Bristol, a lady walked past, an NHS staff member. She took a leaflet off me and walked away. Seconds later she made me jump as she came behind me and said ‘have you been here long?’ Before I could say anything she asked ‘will you be here much longer, would you like a cup of coffee?’
I said ‘no thank you’ and explained I was OK and she went on her way. My immediate thoughts were, what a lovely gesture.
When she asked had I been here long and would I be here much longer, I nearly answered 18 months and as long as it takes but I didn’t want to appear rude to what might be the only pleasant person to speak to me all morning.
Minutes later a man passed and took a leaflet. He was wearing his NHS tag around his neck but he looked like maintenance staff. He walked on and stopped and took a second to read the leaflet I had given him before turning back and saying ‘was this your baby?’ After confirming it was he said ‘I am really sorry’. Another kind gesture. He had nothing to be sorry about but found time to say sorry about what had happened, a mark of respect, a sign of a nice man with a good character.
These two people are not what the NHS is about, they are what decent people are about and when decent people work in the NHS it makes the difference.
Working for the NHS is like a badge of honour, like the Police or the military. You see the staff with their lanyards hanging round their necks on their way to work, on their way home and walking round the shops. NHS staff showcase that lanyard like no other organisation, but let’s make no mistake, not all NHS staff are made equal.
At the same hospital on the same day, a lady walked past me with her NHS lanyard and badge of honour displayed above her coat. She said ‘we are sick of seeing you here with your leaflets and reading your lies’. I am not sure who she meant when she said ‘we’ as she was by herself.
I know the lady as I see her daily and when she walks by, usually with her colleagues they look at me like they have scraped me off the bottom of their shoes.
If she is sick of seeing me and my leaflets I wonder if she can ever imagine how sick I am of being there. I wonder whether she realises just how sick I am in general or how sick my family are due to the sheer nightmare her employer has put us through.
I wonder if it has ever crossed her mind what has actually happened in our lives that has forced me to get up at stupid o’clock every morning and spend day after day stood outside a hospital handing out leaflets. It’s not a pleasant hobby when the winter kicks in.
I wonder what makes this lady so certain that what I am saying is lies. I mean you really have to ask yourself how she came to that conclusion. A member of a profession that is an evidence based business and yet so sure that I am lying, without a drop of evidence.
I don’t expect much in life and actually it’s amazing how you adapt to circumstances. It’s amazing how thick your skin grows when you need it too and when you receive constant abuse from individuals who blame me, rather than accepting the truth. Individuals who protect the badge of honour, no matter what the cost.
I bet they never look at their colleagues the way they look at me, and yet they left a child to die and lied to cover up all the details of his death. Strange isn’t it.
What I used to accept as polite has changed in the current arena I operate in. Ignoring me, crossing the road to avoid me and even raising your hand at me and rolling your eyes have all become the new polite. Ignorance is now politeness and I have to accept it. I accept these now as the basic everyday responses from some NHS staff. They believe that their attitude is some sort of stand against an injustice. They don’t know what a stand is.
It’s sad really that an organisation that makes big claims of being ‘caring’, is far from it. I see it more than most. I could make a fly on the wall documentary on the real NHS. I see them everyday, most of them are not who they claim they are.
When you don’t know the facts and you choose to judge me, it just makes the problem worse. It shows why the problem is actually there. Defend at all costs. We don’t need to know the facts because they don’t matter, it never happened.
I consider myself a decent person and when I stand outside University Hospital Bristol anyone that is nice to me I say thank you to. Anyone that ignores me or frowns at me, I wish them a good day and anyone that is abusive to me I wish them a lovely day. You see, standing outside a hospital day in, day out accusing NHS staff of covering something up, I may as well put a bullseye on my head. It makes me unpopular, and in the eyes of most NHS staff it makes me a liar. I think some confuse my calm and overly polite demeanour as stupidity.
Most don’t know me and most don’t know Bens case they just choose to dismiss me and dismiss his case because they don’t want to believe it.
Ben was two months old when he was negligently left to die. His death was covered up by NHS staff and yet most NHS staff believe I am the problem.
I would love to see the size of the bulge under the carpet in Bristol Hospital with the amount of shit they brush under it.