‘My care was wonderful from start to finish and every effort was made to keep people safe’

Head and shoulders of David Hirst

Published on 28 July 2020

A former city and county councillor has praised East Kent Hospitals staff for their care and dedication after receiving life-saving heart attack treatment.

David Hirst spoke out to reassure others about the safety of hospital services during the coronavirus pandemic, after spending five days at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

Mr Hirst represented Greenhill on Canterbury City Council for eight years until 2019, and was a member for Herne Bay on Kent County Council for 12 years until 2013.

He said: “My experience was wonderful from start to finish. The staff – from the ambulance crew to the nurses on the ward – worked relentlessly for the best outcome and I admired them tremendously.

“I don’t want people thinking they can’t go to hospital. I was thinking that, before I nearly died. But actually with all the care that has been taken there they couldn’t do any more.

“The discipline was evident, everyone was masked up and everyone was washing their hands. Every effort was made to account for the virus and keep people safe.”

Mr Hirst, who is 72 and a retired surveyor, was taken ill in the early hours of Friday, 10 July with chest pains, vomiting and sweating.

Ambulance staff from South East Coast Ambulance Service worked to stabilise him at his home in Upper Hardres, near Canterbury, before taking him to the specialist cardiac centre at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.

He said: “Without the attention the ambulance crew gave me in my home and on the journey I don’t think I would have made it.

“They were working on me all the way to the hospital, and when I was wheeled out of the ambulance there was a team of practitioners waiting for me and I went straight in to have the procedure to fit a stent to open the collapsed artery.

“Without that attention things would have been very different.”

Mr Hirst also praised the team’s commitment while he recovered on the ward, adding: “I was monitored closely all the time. Nearly every time I opened my eyes there was a nurse leaning over me.

“I can’t tell you how good the care was. The quality of the nursing was extraordinary. Although if I were to meet one of the nurses now I wouldn’t recognise them because they were all masked up.

“It was a very strange time. Of course there were no visitors but I managed to get my mobile in and then I could keep in touch with loved ones on facetime and messenger – it wasn’t really a hardship because I was still able to ‘see’ family and talk to them.”