Reader Letter: Norwich hospital team saved my life

PUBLISHED: 10:48 27 June 2018

Ambulances outside the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital A&E department. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Ambulances outside the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital A&E department. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

One reader writes of their experience with the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. What have your experiences been like?

In August of 2012 I was diagnosed by the QEH at King’s Lynn as having gastro-oesophageal cancer. After a CT they told me that they could probably do no more than provide palliative care as they believed I had a secondary tumour in my liver. No curative care was delivered, and there was an expectation that I was unlikely to survive more than months. Having worked at a fairly senior level in the NHS and knowing the system very well, I took their word.

However, an ex-colleague of mine at the NNUH was not convinced. As a Consultant in Intensive Care he believed that I looked too ‘well’. He asked my permission to discuss my case with another of his colleagues, Mr Ed Cheong. To cut a very long and painful story short, the work that Ed and his team did at NNUH saved my life.

Having met many of the people whose lives have been saved - literally - by NNUH’s team, I know that I didn’t receive any special care or treatment because of my work in the NHS. What I got was exactly the same level of excellence that all their patients have.

As a single mother of two boys with no network of immediate support, what they did for me had implications for my children too.

Special Measures is a status that should not be interpreted to mean poor patient care. It’s a complex system in the NHS that often baffles those who have been involved all their working lives, and as I have said many times, I have met only one person in my entire healthcare career who joined the NHS for personal reasons.

Everyone else I believe and know comes through the door at the start of their day wanting to do the very best the patients who need care, whether their role is administrative, clinical or service support. So deeply committed are these people that an adverse CQC report is devastating to them on a personal level.

I want to say a huge thank you to all of those who continue to have that commitment and who are responsible for patients leaving hospital better than they were when they arrived. They are awesome.

Do you agree with our reader? Let us know in the comments below or write to us at

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