5 July 2020
By Janet Mills
My name is Janet and I have two amazing young boys, both of whom would not be here without the NHS.
My younger son Frank was diagnosed with Spina bifida in pregnancy at 21 weeks, and he then arrived extremely prematurely at just under 25 weeks. His chances didn’t look good, but he survived and spent 5 months in neo natal intensive care and is now thriving thanks to the care and dedication of the NHS doctors, nurses and therapists. He’s had 8 separate operations to date, with on-going physio and out patient follow up. Bristol Children’s hospital is his second home. Life is full of challenges but he’s an incredible kid; a happy, cheeky chappy. We could not be more grateful for the NHS.
During lockdown he saw Captain Tom Moore do his fundraising walk around his garden raising money for NHS charities together, doing something to support the NHS who are doing so much in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Frank said “I want to do that”, so we set up a 10metre line outside our house and he walked it determinedly with his walking frame. He wanted to raise £99 in honour of Captain Tom’s age, which we thought we might achieve from friends and family. However within a weekend of posting the video on facebook, the clip went viral and he raised £25,000! Over a week later and he’d raised £250,000, and now the total stands at over £300,000. Because of people’s generosity it’s been amazing to be able to say thank to the NHS, and in Frank’s head he’s saying thank you to all the doctors, nurses and therapists he knows who’ve helped him so much.
On the 7th of May the Prime Minister Boris Johnson awarded Frank his daily ‘Point of Light’ award, which thanks people for doing special things. He wrote to Frank and said “Well done and thank you for all you achieved for our wonderful NHS”.
On the 72nd birthday of the NHS, not only do we express our heartfelt gratitude for it and the people who so dedicatedly work in it, often giving selflessly and sacrificially.
We also want to say that the NHS may not be perfect, but as an institution providing universal health care, free to every person in this nation, regardless of their ability to pay or not, it is still wonderful. It is, more than any other, the institution which unites us, and has shown us yet again through the coronavirus pandemic that we still desperately need it.
We say to Boris, please keep the NHS wonderful!
Promise to keep it off the table, and out of negotiations in trade talks with the US.
We stayed at home, we protected the NHS from being overwhelmed by coronavirus cases, now we ask you to protect the NHS, in law, from aggressive US influence which will surely increase costs for drugs and equipment, and have an adverse long term effects on health care provision in this country.
Frank’s life, our lives, and so many people’s lives rely on it.