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A Patient’s Story


‘Te gift of life, my gift of time’


Born three weeks before the NHS, Andrew Nelson wanted to give something back


J


ust before his 40th birthday, Andrew Nelson suffered a major heart attack resulting in triple bypass surgery. When his health became steadily worse over the next 10 years, it


was apparent that he urgently needed a heart transplant - which he subsequently underwent at Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary. When adult heart and lung services


moved to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital 10 years ago, Andrew’s care


transferred also and it was then he decided to ‘give something back to the NHS’ by offering his services as a Peer Support Volunteer. “My birthday is three weeks prior to the


anniversary of the NHS service starting; if it wasn’t for NHS Scotland, and the marvellous transplant team, I wouldn’t be here today,” said Andrew, a grandfather of three, and a former Ministry of Defence police sergeant, from Helensburgh. “Prior to my heart attack I’d never been ill.


I was always athletic, had a very demanding job, always on the go and interested in sport and going about my day with absolute ease. “When I fell ill, the NHS was there for


me. Tey were super-efficient, helpful, and extremely compassionate and I have nothing but the highest praise for the brilliant staff of our national service.” Andrew now offers his time delivering


support and advice to transplant patients. Mark Duddy, 48, a caretaker from


“If it wasn’t for NHSScotland,


and the marvellous transplant team, I


wouldn’t be here today” Andrew Nelson


Play is essential for our optimal health and wellbeing


Research reflecting on the transformation of play over the last 30 years in Scotland (Professor J McKendrick 2017) highlighted current trends, like


the: l demise of outdoor play l children’s retreat from the


wider neighbourhood l the rise of screen-based play l less play with friends l less informal play spaces l less playtime throughout the


year l more restrictive play


With the decreasing access


to the outdoors environment and lack of free outdoor play, research into children’s mental health has also shown a link between restrictions on children’s access to challenging unsupervised play and rising levels of stress and mental health problems. Prof. R Winston (BBC’s Child of Our Time) Scotland’s Play Strategy values play as a life enhancing daily


30 | NHS70 | SUMMER 2018


experience for all our children, and the UN General Comment 17 on Article 31 clarifies that governments have obligations to ‘respect, protect and fulfil’ children’s right to play to ensure their optimal health and wellbeing. “Communities, schools and parents need to strategically plan for everyday play opportunities to support the optimal health and wellbeing of our children and young people,” said Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive, Play Scotland. Let’s plan to give our children


more permission, time, space and independence to develop their own spontaneous and self-initiated play-it’s one of the best things we can do to improve children’s health and wellbeing in Scotland!


For more information contact info@ playscotland.org


and visit www.playscotland.org


Andrew Nelson, centre, with Golden Jubilee National Hospital staff


Uddingston, who received a heart transplant at the Golden Jubilee last winter, is deeply grateful for his life-saving care, as well as the support and friendship received from Andrew. “Sometimes when you’re feeling unhappy


and you’re thinking ‘why did this happen to me’,” said Mark, “Andrew is there to give you advice and support that just lifts your spirits. “Although your family visit regularly, they


really can’t appreciate the challenges you are facing on a daily basis but Andrew has been through the same and I’m very grateful he was there for me, and for what the NHS has done for me.” n


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