As President Higgins visits London’s University College Hospital, Niall O’Sullivan meets some of the many Irish staff who are proud to work in Britain’s National Health Service…
Dr Mike Patterson, 34, is a consultant in emergency medicine and intensive care medicine originally from Belfast
“I find it really nice that there are so many Irish people at UCH. I am still the kind of guy that, when I hear an Irish accent out and about in town, I will always ask ‘Oh, where are you from?’ I definitely consider myself a Londoner now, but I think you are always Irish, aren’t you?
“I did my training in Aberdeen and that is quite a well-travelled route for people in the North who want to do medicine.
“I think when you grow up in Ireland you accept that you may not be able to achieve some of the things you want to achieve in Ireland.
“Morale in the NHS gets a lot of press these days, but the reality is that most healthcare workers in the NHS are very proud of the fact we get to provide, particularly here at UCH, very high quality care and we get to do it for the most vulnerable people in society for free.
“But it doesn’t surprise me that people like British Medical Association chair Dr Mark Porter say morale in the NHS is ‘worryingly low’ at the moment.
“I think that in a lot of hospitals the thing that frustrates people and makes morale low is the inability of people to do the job they want, the under-funding that comes centrally and the cuts that are making people less able to work the way they want to.”