Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has spoken about the devastating experience of losing her father as she praised the nurses who helped care for him and called for cuts to their funding to stop.
The actress, whose father died of cancer in July 2016, detailed the expertise and compassion of the people caring for him in his last days.
Speaking at an awards ceremony in London, the Royal College of Nursing ambassador, 31, said: “Even in my lifetime, nursing has drastically changed. Nurses are beginning to smash the old stereotypes and, for the first time, performing operations and running doctors’ surgeries.
“Our NHS, and other health services around the world, simply could not function without you. But even with the support you give, you aren’t getting it in return.
“Today’s nurses appear an easy target for cuts, not the priority for investment.”
She added: “This reality breaks my heart, as two years ago on the 10th of July I lost my darling dad.
“Our experience was shaped by the care he received. I was given the opportunity to be involved in the intricacies that made up a day of trying to save his life and it showed me with such clarity, not only the awe-inspiring skill that the nurses clearly had, but the emotional intelligence that came along with it.
“After a panic at hearing bells and buzzers I didn’t understand; the hug that came my way and the words that accompanied it both reassured and comforted me.
“I know my dad received the best care and medical support from our nurses that dealt with every second of those dark days.”
Urging nurses to take action to campaign against cuts, Clarke said: “The money the NHS has to keep our nurses trained and at the forefront of healthcare has been cut in half this year in England.
“This has to stop, we have to make a change. We all know the frustrations that go along with student debt.
“Young people who have the drive and commitment are being put off by the new fees they now must pay to train.
“To force the people who save our lives to live on food stamps has to stop. Now, more than ever, we must value nursing.
“Nursing is about more than just medicine; it’s about engaging with another person on a human level. Like hugging a daughter who knows that she is about to lose her dad.
“As ambassador I want to help fund and engage a new generation of specialist nurses. Who, in turn, will deliver innovative practice, improve survival rates and reduce hospital stays; and help those with long-term conditions to live their lives to the full.
“I vow to champion nurses and support workers and to help you gain the recognition and money you deserve. Together, we must support the next generation to innovate and become the powerful nurses of tomorrow.”