I’M absolutely sick of all the negative press on our NHS recently, and the attempt to portray the Scottish Government as been wholly culpable for pushing this vital service into a state of crisis. Anyone paying any attention at all would see that in comparison with its equivalent in England and Wales, ours is almost faultless and is kept in a high-functioning condition because of the efforts of our government in protecting it from the savage cuts made by the Westminster government.

Whilst in Scotland we have people with flu complaining that they had to wait more than four hours for treatment at A&E, in England they have heart attack and stroke victims waiting inside ambulances that are having to queue to drop them off, with medical staff darting between vehicles desperately trying to stabilise the condition of the more urgent cases, yet unable to get them into the hospital.

The Scottish media know fine well, as do the Tory/Labour and LibDem MSPs carping away relentlessly, that a) The pressure our NHS is under is a direct result of funding cuts made by Westminster, b) The SNP government have moved funds around from elsewhere in their budget to mitigate these cuts and consequently are keeping our NHS working at a far greater efficiency level than anywhere else in the UK, and c) Nobody in Scotland is being denied life-saving treatment or operations.

So, here is my own wee story. Just before Christmas I felt unwell at home and couldn’t sleep. I got out of bed and went to the bathroom and collapsed unconscious on the floor. When I came to, I took a drink of water and went back to my bed but still didn’t feel right, so my partner called the NHS 24 advice line and the operator got a nurse to call me back. The nurse decided I had likely had a heart attack and so contacted ambulance control centre. A short time later a paramedic was at the door (yes, one of those single-crew units) and he immediately set about diagnosing and stabilising my condition, this by a serious of tests and the administering of appropriate medication (all the while keeping direct communication with the control centre). He had only just completed all this when two others arrived with a stretcher, into which I was strapped. All three lifted me up the dark and ice-covered stairs leading to the road.

We live in a dimly lit, difficult-to-find, single-track country lane and on a freezing winter’s night the task these three faced in just arriving at our house was not insignificant. The single medic was dispatched as he was the nearest unit and could get to me quickest. The other unit, I found out later, was dispatched at the same time but from further away. This is a system that clearly works. Inside the ambulance I was conscious and aware that communication was going on to determine which hospital was most appropriate to deal with my condition and could have a surgical team assembled and waiting. With destination confirmed, we set off. The lone paramedic had already been re-directed to another call and was most likely on his way to saving another life.

At the hospital a team of five or six people in surgical greens was waiting on my arrival. A few hours later I was recovering from life-saving surgery. To me, my life was saved twice that night, once by the loan paramedic – who may well have put his own at risk on those icy roads – and again by the super efficiency of the hospital team. I will be forever in their debt and will never tolerate any dissing of our NHS or the Scottish Government’s endeavours to protect it through all the hindrance meted out by the Westminster Tories.

I sincerely hope that nobody suffering a heavy cold was left inconvenienced in A&E due to me hogging all that attention.

Bruno Celini