Eamonn Holmes should have been presenting coverage of the Queen‘s Platinum Jubilee on TV screens earlier this month, but found himself in a hospital bed being treated for a painful back instead. The experience gave the presenter, who has just begun a new column for Express.co.uk, a renewed understanding of the “underpaid and understaffed” NHS.
The 63-year-old broadcaster woke up in agony at the time and, after being rushed to A&E and having an emergency MRI scan, it was revealed that he was suffering from two prolapsed discs in his back.
He was impressed by the speedy and efficient treatment he received and the “education” he was given about his condition, alongside the options he was offered every step of the way – but he lamented the impact Brexit has been having on the NHS.
“The 20 or 30 [staff] I met during my stay repeatedly insisted they were ‘just doing their jobs’,” he recalled, after praising their efforts to keep patients comfortable throughout the night.
“My carers were from Northern Ireland, the Philippines and Africa. They were underpaid and understaffed,” he continued.
He urged the world not to “rely on the Westminster mouthpieces for the facts”, and to speak to people within the industry instead.
Eamonn felt deflated not to have been at the heart of the action when the Platinum Jubilee kicked off, as he was left languishing in hospital instead.
It meant he had to pass up the opportunity for himself and wife Ruth Langsford to ride in one of the buses appointed to ‘National Treasures’ at the pageant.
However, he was given a renewed appreciation for how NHS staff work tirelessly to keep hospitals running.
“Around me were patients with bad injuries, often in tremendous pain. The screams, day and night, bore testament to that,” he admitted.
“Yet there was always a doctor, nurse or nursing auxiliary close by to hold a hand, apply pain relief or empty a bedpan.”
The presenter, who is from Northern Ireland, stated that his care was hugely different to what he’d experienced in the private sector in London in the past.
“As the days passed it was clear none of them, not a single one, were doing it for the money,” he exclaimed.
“No, they were proud of their jobs, often wanting to progress up the career ladder and they saw what they were doing as a vocation.”
Meanwhile, Eamonn was back in the GB News studio this week, and he reports that his back is “holding up”.
He took the opportunity to give a heartfelt thanks to the staff who supported him in his Express column, whom he described as “angels”.
“Right now,” he told the world, “my heart belongs to the NHS”.