'Doctors Have Changed My Life' ANALYSIS: WHATEVER YOU MAY HEAR IN THE MEDIA, THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT THE STATE OF OUR HEALTH SERVICE IS BEST HEARD FROM THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CLOSEST TO IT - THE PATIENTS. WE ASKED ECHO READERS TO TELL US THEIR EXPERIENCES OF THE NHS TODAY

Article excerpt

Byline: Greg Tindle and Sarah Welsh

THE political dogfight that erupted following the treatment of 94-yearold Rose Addis in a London hospital has again put the NHS into the spotlight. The arguments rage with claim and counter claim.

The Tories say the NHS is in crisis with ever-longer waits and patients left in agony as they queue for treatment.

Labour point out that record levels of cash are being pumped into paying for extra treatments, more staff and new equipment:

So what did Echo readers make of it all? We asked for your views - good or bad - and the response has been an overwhelming thumbs-up for our health workers.

EDWIN HAWKWOOD says when it comes to his health he is "Hawkwood by name and awkward by nature" - but the National Health Service has done him proud.

Following a triple bypass operation on his heart in November, he is still undergoing twice-weekly after-care appointments at the University Hospital of Wales, Heath, Cardiff.

Mr Hawkwood, 73, of Llanishen, Cardiff, told the Echo: "I've always had problems with my health, including two operations on stones in my kidneys and have suffered with angina for the past few years.

"I was admitted to hospital in November for tests, but when I was being examined I suddenly had incredible pains in my left arm and the doctor told my wife I was having a heart attack right then and there.

"I was in hospital for about 10 days and they did the actual operation after 48 hours. I was bumped to the front of the queue because it was a genuine emergency but have had to wait for things in the past and, unfortunately, many people don't understand they might have to wait.

"A group of us go to do exercise at the hospital twice a week now and many often don't turn up. People have this wonderful service and don't use it - they need their heads examining.

"My operation has changed my life and the doctors did that for me. Obviously you can't have a nurse sitting at the bottom of your bed constantly, but the staff really do care."

ANEURIN WATKINS, 82, of Radyr, Cardiff, said: "On October 19, my wife Eileen found a lump in her breast. Last week she was given the all clear and I can honestly say the treatment we have had throughout has been absolutely wonderful.

"Our GP is great - nothing is too much trouble for him - but we have also found the staff at both the University Hospital of Wales and Velindre Hospital very caring.

"A Macmillan nurse came to the house twice to see Eileen was all right and explain everything and our minds were really put at rest. What better service could you ask for?"

IRENE MORRIS, 76, of Fairwater, Cardiff, spent nine days in hospital in August.

She said: "I was admitted to hospital because my appendix was infected. …