I am a helpline adviser, but I am also a patient, a daughter, a mum, a wife and know too well what waiting for care looks and feels like. 

Waiting, literally can mean the difference between life and death.  No one wants to be in that situation, but many of us now are.  Living with fear, frustration, pain, no quality of life and no hope!

I took a call from a woman the other day and she said she had been told her husband was number 40 on ‘the list’. She was asking me what that actually meant?  In our conversation we came to realise that a number has no real value, if you are 40 on a list of 40 you are in effect last, and that in turn creates many different emotions and responses. 

How long

Maybe, if we were given a timeframe by our healthcare providers we could cope, live or deal with the waiting better.  Knowing how long ‘this’ would last, would enable us to put plans into place, to chase other options, to know better where we stand. 

After listening to the Radio 4 programme, I felt compelled to write this blog to say that although one of the callers was critical of helplines, knowing there is a human being to listen and share experiences with, does have value. 

Talking is really important, now more than ever; it isn’t always about solving a problem but enabling another human being to be vulnerable, to open up and share their experiences, good or bad, to know you are not alone and that you matter.    

Taking action

There will be those of you who may think talk is cheap, and action now needs to happen, but without adding our voices together with organisations such as the Patients Association we are alone. By talking together, joining together and taking action together, we can make change happen, and boy, do we need change now! 

So, I am writing this to ask you all to use our helpline, add your voices to the many by becoming a member of the Patients Association.  But please do remember that the person answering the phone, or your email is also human and trying their best to help, even if it is just to say, “I am here, I am listening”.

If you missed this episode of You and Yours, which was broadcast on 7th November 2023, you can listen to it on BBC Sounds.