A Tory councillor who made a miraculous recovery from a life-threatening illness in Kingston Hospital has been elected to the hospital’s Council of Governors.
Councillor Dennis Doe had a pre-existing condition called ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease that has similarities to Crohn’s disease. The illness escalated suddenly in April 1998, leaving him critically ill in Kingston Hospital. When he was able to leave on the 20th of May, it was with the grim prognosis that he had only months to live. But he had a profound religious experience, recovered and was inspired by his experience to give back to the hospital.
Councillor Doe, who is also a Methodist preacher, said: “In hospital I had a clear vision of walking to my death with Christ at my side and about to step into the next world. But He turned me round, walked me back and said, ‘not yet, – I still have work for you to do’.”
Councillor Doe was given his first opportunity to do this work in 2003, when he spent a year as Mayor. He headed a team in the Guildhall that included three civilian volunteers, the Mayoral office staff, the Deputy Mayor and Dr. Ian Strickland, who had treated him in hospital. Together they raised £53,000 to finance the installation of the Capsule Endoscopy Unit, or ‘TummyCam’. But he still had more to give. He said: “I have sought how to do more. The new Governor role has offered that chance and I am pleased that the voting members supported me in that quest.”
Councillor Doe was one of only two Conservatives standing for election to the hospital’s first elected Council of Governors. Of the other councillors elected in the polls, which ran from the 10th September to the 2nd of November, only Councillor Richard Allen, a Labour candidate, had the backing of a political party.
The election of a Council of Governors is one of the requirements of Kingston Hospital being formally authorised as a Foundation Trust, which is expect to happen early next year. The Governors will also oversee the hospitals attempts to save £9.2m from its £200m budget in 2013, a cost cutting drive that will see nearly 500 people at the hospital lose their jobs.