Mum whose daughter was saved by doctors hails the NHS on its birthday

Katherine Soper, specialist speech and language therapist at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and

Katherine Soper, specialist speech and language therapist at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and her daughter Emily Soper. Emily shares her birthday with the NHS. - Credit: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

A speech and language therapist whose daughter shares her birthday with the founding of the NHS has paid tribute to the organisation after it saved her baby's life. 

Katherine Soper, from Bury St Edmunds, who has worked for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust since 2012, gave birth to daughter Emily via emergency Caesarean section at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital five years ago. 

She spent four weeks in neonatal intensive care before spending another six weeks in West Suffolk’s special care baby unit. 

Emily Soper as a baby. Emily shares her birthday with the NHS.

Emily Soper as a baby. - Credit: West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Today marks 73 years since the NHS was founded by then minister of health Aneurin Bevan in 1948. 

Katherine said: “It is so fitting that she shares her birthday with the NHS.

"Every year I look back with mixed feelings, it was such a difficult time but I am so grateful to both the Norfolk and Norwich and West Suffolk hospitals who looked after us so well.” 

Katherine added that the best thing about being employed by the NHS is that the young people and families she works with can access the same support regardless of their financial situation. 

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Four other employees from West Suffolk Foundation Trust also share their birthdays with the NHS. 

Frankie Dettori launching the West Suffolk Hospital My WiSH Charity "Every Heart Counts Appeal" with

Tony Floyde, senior project manager, pictured with Frankie Dettori launching the West Suffolk Hospital My WiSH Charity "Every Heart Counts Appeal" - Credit: Andy Abbott

Tony Floyde, from Manningtree, a senior project manager with the trust, was in the military before joining the NHS. 

He said: “The NHS has looked after me since my military discharge, carrying out surgery on my lower back which I damaged serving in Northern Ireland.

"In 2009 I had three ribs and the upper lobe of my right lung removed after I was diagnosed with cancer and I received excellent care. 

“I didn’t realise I shared my birthday with the NHS until I started working at the trust. I love seeing projects I have worked on being used to help people every single day."

Lisa Musk, assistant medical education manager at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, who shares her

Lisa Musk, assistant medical education manager at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, who shares her birthday with the NHS. - Credit: WSFT

Lisa Musk, assistant medical education manager with the trust, works alongside Health Education England and supports GP trainees throughout their training. 

Lisa, from Holland-on-Sea, has worked for the NHS for over 12 years. 

“I feel that we don’t truly know how lucky we are to have the NHS. When I found out I shared my birthday with the NHS, I felt incredibly special as this is the organisation I have chosen to work in," she said. 

“I feel I can make a difference by supporting and helping more GP’s work within our communities who can hopefully help more patients.

"Each and every one of us who work in the NHS play a part in a patient care regardless of what department we are based in, we are all valuable and needed for the NHS to function.” 

Sally Lawrence, discharge planning team lead at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, who shares her bi

Sally Lawrence, discharge planning team lead at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, who shares her birthday with the NHS. - Credit: WSFT

Sally Lawrence, discharge planning team lead, has worked at both West Suffolk and Newmarket hospitals since 1982. 

Sally completed her nursing training in Newmarket before heading back to the West Suffolk site to become a staff nurse and has now worked in the discharge planning team for the last decade. 

Sally said: “My mum received her end of life care at West Suffolk Hospital nine years ago and was looked after by the respiratory team. The team were so gracious and compassionate to her and my family and I will be eternally grateful for their kindness. 

“I think we are so fortunate to have the NHS.  I feel this has been magnified during the pandemic. 

"People are incredibly lucky to have access to healthcare in the NHS.  There have been many heart-breaking scenes on the news where others in the world have not had this available to them. I have worked with some truly amazing people who provide an amazing service and care to the community who use our hospital.” 

Emma Reid, foundation year doctor at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, who shares her birthday with

Emma Reid, foundation year doctor at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, who shares her birthday with the NHS. - Credit: WSFT

Foundation year doctor Emma Reid has been with the trust for just over a year and believes the best thing about working for the NHS is the people she works alongside.  

Emma said: “The NHS employs around 1.6 million staff and every person I have met during my short career does their absolute best every single day.

"They strive for the best possible care for their patients and despite the workload, laughs and smiles are always abundant to brighten your day.” 

Emma is hugely proud to be both a part of the NHS and share a birthday with it, she said: “The NHS means equal healthcare provision for all regardless of ethnicity, culture, age, gender and class. It is the blue logo that holds us all together and makes me want to go into work each and every day."

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