My Time in the NHS (Iain)

My mum worked for the NHS for over 30 years. She was a receptionist at the Western Isles Hospital until she retired. Thankfully retired receptionists, unlike retired doctors, are not key NHS workers. She didn’t receive a letter from the government asking if she’d like to go back to work. If she had, she would have told them where to stick their phone.

Both Andrew and I worked for the NHS for short periods of time. We also played for the NHS football team. Does that make me an NHS hero? No – I was definitely in the work shy waster category!

The first bit of work I did was to re-design the health board travel request database. I was paid for eight weeks work but completed the task in two days. I asked the health board if I could do anything else but they said no. I asked them if I could go home. They said I could but they wouldn’t pay me if I did. So, I went to work for seven weeks to play a card game on my computer. It means I can legitimately say I worked in the NHS with patience… the card game not the ill kind.

My second bit of work for the NHS was as a mortuary cleaner. The mortuary and the hospital lab where in the same part of the hospital and I’d clean both parts.

No-one ever came to check on me. I’d be left on my own for the whole time I was working. Which sounds scary but it was great. I was paid for two hours work but it only took 30 minutes. I’d work and then sit in the lab staff room to read a book for 90 minutes before going home.

The mortuary was actually quite a nice room that you wouldn’t know was a mortuary until you noticed it had four small fridge-like doors in one wall. I just treated it as a room owned by someone who likes a lot of ice cream. Which wasn’t too far fetched an idea as, once a month, the lab would test the ice cream machines in town. The test only required a tiny amount of ice cream but the retailers would send big tubs. The guy in the lab who did the test would let me eat what they didn’t need. I told you it was a great job.

The other positive to the job was the mortuary contained the post mortem theatre. Which sounds scary but it was just a room that was always closed unless it was being used. I couldn’t see into it but if a post mortem was required, I’d be sent home as they didn’t want people in the vicinity of the room.

I was probably the only person reading the local paper who saw the phrase “suspicious death” and was happy. It meant I got the night off.