LET US give a big cheer for the doctors and nurses in the accident and emergency department of Queen Alexandra Hospital.
I had to go to the hospital in a rush recently.
At 8am I visited a fellow musician’s house to go together to Cosham and board a train for Gatwick to catch a flight to Milan.
We were joining other members of the UK’s Charity Symphony Orchestra to play at the church of St Mary at the Fountain in that cultured Italian city.
As we picked up our luggage and instruments to leave, her whippet suddenly gave me an unprovoked, vicious bite on my leg.
I rolled up my trouser leg and was aghast to see a four inch, bleeding wound on my calf.
My leg was swelling up rapidly.
Gripped by panic, all I could think was: ‘We’re going to miss the train.
‘This will scupper my trip to Milan.’
Clearly distraught by the incident, my friend cut a strip off a towel to staunch the bleeding.
Her husband drove us with our luggage to QA.
Fortunately, there were few people in the waiting area.
On a Saturday night the story may have been different.
I was ushered into the treatment area where nurse Lisa Fernandes washed and cleaned the bitten area.
The registrar, Dr Sarah Herbert, quizzed me about my identity, medical background, circumstances of the injury and any allergies I might have.
With impressive decisiveness, Dr Herbert analysed the situation and acted.
I was given a painless tetanus injection while someone else from A&E went to the QA pharmacy to fetch a course of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor.
All the while I babbled on about my tight schedule for getting to Milan to play in the violin section of the orchestra.
Dr Herbert, who has a charming Swansea accent, told me that she used to play the bassoon and then Ms Fernandes said she played the piano.
I felt completely among friends.
A few minutes later my fellow musician and I left the hospital in time to catch the train and journey on.
My wife is a former casualty sister so I fully expected NHS medical staff to be briskly professional.
They certainly were.
But it was their wonderful, genial compassion which impressed me most of all.
Whatever’s wrong with the NHS it’s not the front-line staff, that’s for sure.