'Give the nurses what they want!': Pensioner describes hospital epiphany that turned him left-wing

8 December 2022, 16:39 | Updated: 15 June 2023, 15:08

Melissa Fleur Afshar

By Melissa Fleur Afshar

Doug told James O'Brien about the "dramatic change" he experienced while in hospital, which opened his eyes to the dedication of NHS professionals and their financial plight.

Earlier this year, self-confessed "right-wing middle-class non-Labour-voter" Doug came down with with a serious lung infection that forced him to endure 45 bed-ridden days in Guildford's Royal Surrey Hospital.

The stellar care he received from the hospital's doctors, nurses, and healthcare assistants opened his eyes to the reason why they're striking and completely altered his political views.

On the frail state of the UK's public services, the Guildford-based pensioner in his late 70s told James O'Brien: "All of a sudden I thought, what have I been doing all these years? How could I not see this coming?"

"I guess you'd class me middle-class and right-wing," admitted Doug.

"But, I have never ever had such a change of belief in my life. I changed so utterly over the last few months because I spent a lot of time in hospital," added Doug profoundly.

"I think the dramatic change was to go from a whole life of being fit and healthy, to suddenly being hit by this lung infection, and then you start to see things differently," said the pensioner.

Doug shared that his changed political stance and change in heart led to him sympathising with striking NHS workers and despising the current Conservative government.

"Why don't we just give the nurses and key workers the money they want! Just put 2 pence on bloody tax!" exclaimed Doug.

READ MORE: 'I didn't train to see people die', paramedic reveals pressures driving workers to strike

"[In hospital I saw] these nurses really knocking themselves out! These people really earn their money, but you've got a government just sitting there [doing nothing]. What are government ministers doing? Are they just going to sit there and let the whole thing completely collapse?"

While he's opened up to having been "right-wing", Doug made clear that he was certainly no fan of the current Tory administration.

"I must admit, I would never have voted for this bunch," he told James O'Brien.