Review of ‘These are the Hands’ NHS anthology

Extract from Margaret Adkin’s review of
These Are The Hands: Poems from the Heart of the NHS
(Fair Acre Press, March 2020)

Margaret Adkins worked as a nurse for 36 years, 27 of which were in the NHS. She trained as a nurse and then dedicated herself to a career in midwifery, working in the community in Birmingham and later Malvern. Margaret went on to work as a GP practice nurse and then as a sexual health nurse for the Brook Centre in Birmingham.

Margaret graduated from the University of Worcester with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018, and was awarded the V Press Prize for Poetry for her pamphlet Mingled Space.

These Are The Hands deserves to be read as a contemporary record as much as an ode to healthcare. It is worth remembering that the poems were written during times when key workers were not hearing nationwide clapping and pan-clattering. In fact many were written in the wake of falling public satisfaction when NHS staff felt undervalued and exhibited widespread low morale. This anthology tells of resilience and a common unwavering desire, even when despondent, to administer excellent patient care. When read closely, These Are The Hands is a herald. Coronavirus must not obliterate these pre-pandemic memories of the NHS. It is imperative that the public remains supportive of those in the NHS who are subject to changing national and local politics; who are currently coping with a backlog of work; who have no choice but to manage healthcare in the evolving pandemic, yet are still recovering from the yoke of the first wave of coronavirus.”

To read the whole review and visit Margaret’s website follow this LINK

And to read Margaret’s personal response to the anthology, which features one of her poems, please click HERE

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