The NHS of the future will be safe in our young people’s hands - Susan Morrison

A consultant clinical oncologist examines a scan showing inside the bodyA consultant clinical oncologist examines a scan showing inside the body
A consultant clinical oncologist examines a scan showing inside the body
​My lovely oncologist called me out of the blue. This is guaranteed to throw me into a tailspin.

It could mean I’ve missed an appointment and a colonoscopy specialist is weeping somewhere over a balloon that should have gone up my bahookie.

But no, this time she wanted me to come into the Western to talk to a class of secondary school pupils who could choose careers in the health service. Not just as consultants and nurses, but also those vital roles of care assistants, cleaners and porters.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In a stunning piece of forward planning, my oncologist was luring young people to give them a sales pitch before they decided to become pop stars, footballers or influencers, which I understand are the current career choices du jour.

She wanted them to hear about what it's like being a patient, in the hands of those professionals and that includes those cleaners and porters.

Well, given that the woman has saved my life, I thought it churlish to refuse. I like young people. They’ll be a hoot, I thought.

I don’t think I’ve ever faced a more laser-focused group in my life. They were mainly young women. There was one lad, at the front, on his own, clearly delighted to be there.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Some future decisions had already been made. Tricky specialisms in surgery have some great recruits heading their way, but it was a joy to see lightbulbs literally going on over other heads.

Not when I was talking, obviously. I might have been just a little too graphic in detailing what happens when you have a colonoscopy. Not the procedure, you understand, but the amount of time you spend in the loo, although I did point out that it did give me a chance to catch up on social media.

No, it was the moments when radiotherapists, nurses and pharmacists revealed how this huge machine called the NHS works. I overheard the young folk talking about that bigger caring team and how they could be part of that.

The NHS will be safe in their hands. Here’s hoping we can pass it on in good nick.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.