What was your worst life experience ever? Do you ever reflect back on the trauma and with the passage of time, now see the hand of God at work, even in your darkest moment? A while back I spent an eventful night visiting various local emergency health centres after three different antibiotics had failed to deal with an infection. A subsequent enforced stay in hospital left me physically drained but curiously refreshed and deeply aware about what matters most to me in life. I can’t say I found spending a wakeful night in pain lying on a 2.6 wide trolley in Accident & Emergency exactly heaven. Or indeed the next few days in a ward at St Peters.

I did however meet many angels from a wide range of countries serving in the NHS. In the space of 72 hours, as I observed the world going by my temporary home on wheels, in my enforced child-like dependence, I realised that a hospital is far more than just a loose collection of doctors and nurses. It is a highly disciplined, multi-dimensional 24 x 7 operation including paramedics and ambulance crews, receptionists and porters, nursing staff, auxiliary’s, ward sisters, surgeons, anaesthetists, junior doctors, consultants, pharmacists, technicians, lab assistants, cleaners, chefs and a hospital chaplaincy team. These highly qualified and deeply motivated guardian angels, used their skills and talents with one objective in mind – to help me get well again. Each has been trained, equipped and recruited for a specific role within that organisation. Each knows their job description, what is expected of them and to whom they are accountable. Despite their different uniforms, positions and titles, most have one thing in common – the desire to serve, to heal the sick, listen to the troubled, counsel the confused and comfort the dying, with patience, grace and humour.

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