I was born in the hospital where my mum was working in Wigan. My sister was born in that same hospital. There were lots of other children also living in hospitals because the vast majority of junior doctors were people who had migrated to the UK, from India and Pakistan mainly, at that time.
Dr Nitha Naqvi
I had a great childhood although everybody else would think it was slightly weird because I lived in hospitals until I was nine years old. We had loads of fantastic birthday parties in the hospital canteen.
Growing up I lived in at least six different hospitals. I always felt very much at home being in the hospital. I’m sure that’s part of the reason I became a doctor. I don’t feel the need to go home from work because I feel I already am home, which is a good position to be in when you have a job with lots of hours!
When I was first born, my parents didn’t know what to do with me at all because they didn’t have any family support. My father went to the ward sister and said, ‘What should I do?’ And she said, ‘Oh, don’t worry, my sister will look after your baby when the baby’s born’. My Auntie Frances (the nurse’s sister) was like my second mum. I spent more than half of my life with her family because my parents were always working, often up to 100 hours per week. I had a very English upbringing in that respect: eating very English food and my Auntie Frances’ family even used to take me to watch Wigan Athletic football matches every weekend. We are still very close after almost 50 years.
I became a children's cardiologist because my dad always told me it was the best job in the world. He was right! I look after children with all kinds of heart problems. I meet some of the children the day they are born and I keep looking after them until they are adults.
My family has given more than 150 years of combined service to the NHS. I even met my husband – also a doctor – in a hospital lift. My teenage daughter Sophia also hopes to become a doctor, continuing the NHS story for our family. I feel so blessed to have been truly born into the NHS.
Dr Nitha Naqvi is a consultant paediatric cardiologist based at the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust