THE OUTSIDER-KEITH HELLAWELL
Harper Collins Publishers 2002
The Autobiography of one of Britain’s most controversial policemen
The following has been reproduced with the kind permission of the author
Satisfaction with in my professional career was not matched by my health. For many years I had suffered from back problems, and these were getting progressively worse. I reached the stage at which I was unable to move from the sitting or lying position without help, and I didn’t enjoy a single night’s continuous sleep, due to the pain. I’m sure the deterioration was partly caused by the distance I drove (130, 000 miles in thirty months), a personal choice, as I thought it inappropriate to employ a driver in such a poor county.
When I sought medical advice, I was told that my spine had been broken many years previously, damaging three vertebrate in the lumbar region. The bones had fused together, putting pressure on my spinal cord. The only incident which could account for this had occurred 20 years previously, when a car knocked me from my Lambretta scooter into a telegraph pole. The specialists said that there was little he could do other than a operate, which he did not recommend. It was lucky that I paid to consult the surgeon, as he informed me that, were I a National Health patient, he would have had to contact my employers and advice dismissal, as I was 60 per cent disabled. If I had required any information on how the medical retirement system operated, I was experiencing it first hand. Other than injuries caused by sport or an accident, my back had not necessitated my losing one day’s work in thirty years. I was now being told that had I not paid to see the consultant, he would have effectively ended my police career, whether I wished it or not. I pondered how many other officers had found themselves in this position-and at what cost to the service. Thankfully, I discovered a wonderful naturopath in York, Atul Shah, who did wonders in relieving my pain by manipulation and has kept me going ever since. Without him I would now be on sticks.