AS TWO years since the start of the Covid pandemic passes, Taiwo Owatemi, Member of Parliament for Coventry North West, writes for the Observer to pay tribute to the NHS staff and give an insight into her voluntary work within the healthcare service.
I love representing Coventry North West. Whether resolving a local problem at one of my regular coffee afternoons or speaking up for you in Westminster, it is such a privilege to be your Member of Parliament.
But before I was elected, I worked as a cancer pharmacist in the NHS.
Being a cancer pharmacist is a specialised role and involves preparing the treatment given to cancer patients. I also prepared treatment for those living with other severe illnesses, like rheumatoid arthritis and various blood disorders.
I will always be proud of my time working in the NHS. Over the past two years we have all been amazed by the ground-breaking work of the NHS throughout the pandemic, their efforts have been truly heroic.
Which is why I still want to play my part supporting our NHS. I want to do what I can to help the NHS continue to provide world-class healthcare for everyone living in Coventry.
So, during the summer last year, I enrolled as a volunteer cancer pharmacist at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.
I do this unpaid, in addition to my full-time work as an MP.
The way I see it, volunteering as a pharmacist is just another way that I can help serve my community. The entire team working at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire are fantastic, it is a joy to volunteer alongside them.
Each month I now work two shifts at our local hospital, volunteering in the chemotherapy unit.
Here, I help produce the treatment given to many cancer patients in our city.
I live in Holbrooks, so it’s just a short trip to the hospital and I can fit volunteering in around my other work.
When volunteering, I enjoy using a different set of skills to those I use as a Member of Parliament. It also offers me a fresh perspective, allowing me to have a more up-close understanding of the issues facing our health services today.
Too often, politicians make big decisions about the future of the NHS without really understanding how healthcare works.
By linking up my work as a volunteer pharmacist with my role as an MP I hope to change that.
I will continue to do my very best to be a voice for everyone who works so hard in our NHS.
So, if you see me at the hospital any time soon, feel free to come up and say hello!
Visit https://www.england.nhs.uk/get-involved/get-involved/volunteering/ for more on the volunteer roles within the NHS.