Letters: Choo Weng-Choong, November 8, 2016

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Recently, I was very ill and was confined to my local hospital for five nights and six days.

I was not critically ill, but almost as ill as many others there sharing the various wards. In the wards I was moved to, my bed neighbours were all white, all British, all male. I was the only non-white British. I could categorise my bed neighbours to be a majority of “ignorant and proud-to-be-nationalism” types because of the strength of the Brexit vote. I don’t classify them this way because I had no way of knowing for sure, but am merely quoting what political commentators have described people in East Anglia to be and extrapolating the voting results of the referendum to my bed neighbours. Like me, I was certain all the others in the wards, including their family and friends who visited, were only concerned to get better and to go home. Nobody questions who treats you when you are that ill, and I am certain many if not all want to believe every word the doctor tells you, irrespective of the colour of the doctor’s skin.

During my time there, of all the doctors and consultants who looked after us only one was a white English female senior house officer. Every other doctor was non-white. The majority of the consultants or senior doctors who treated us those six days I was in hospital were locums. The hospital obviously has a tremendous employment problem of recruitment of suitably trained, appropriately qualified medical personnel. The consultant of the microbiological unit was also non- white, and that department was so important in analysing the blood and urine samples to track my illness. After my traumatic experience in the hospital, the next time a fellow golf club member makes a remark that to allow an immigrant in is to have one more ahead of the queue for the NHS, I will know what to say, and not to ignore his racist view of life in Norfolk. I will ask him who the queue is for.

How can a typical regional big hospital like the Queen Elizabeth Hospital carry on if the Brexiters demand the drawbridges be drawn up? What we need is sensible controlled immigration, not UKIP or ignorant immigration. When will governments be brave enough to say the country, the whole social fabric of life in modern Britain needs other people for society to function effectively? Thank God we still have majority of people who who don’t expect vegetables in our supermarkets to drop out of the sky but need foreign labour to pick them off the fields so that they can be delivered to us relatively cheaply.

During my six days in the QEH, doctors and nurses were all working flat out and the doctors were so tirelessly attentive. One doctor must have stayed well beyond his assigned hours. Yet, the Health Secretary says he wants to push through new contracts for junior doctors to ensure patient care and safety 24/7. How can this be so, when the junior doctors seem to be working flat out and above and beyond their stipulated hours during weekdays? How can weekends be effectively covered as well by simply re-rostering with the staff shortages the hospitals are already working under? Pure utter nonsense, Jeremy Hunt. You are not doing your job but merely being a politician who only knows how to lie your way out of manifesto pledges you made knowing them to be totally undeliverable.

Choo Weng-Choong

Magdalen