Veteran actress Liz Smith has slammed the British health system, branding it "hellish" and "disgraceful".
The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star suffered a stroke earlier this year (09) and spent months under doctors' care in hospital.
Smith claims the constant activity in her ward made it harder for her to recover.
She says, "Apart from when my daughter was born more than 50 years ago, I've never been in hospital. It was hellish. Other patients and nurses were noisy, demanding attention at all hours of the night. After the stroke I was in a ward of four and, at first, I was completely helpless - I couldn't move or even lift a glass of water.
"At the beginning, an acceptance of death flashed through my mind and I thought, 'If I go now, I've had a good life', but I lingered on and gradually built up strength."
And the 87 year old is equally as damning about the aftercare she has received now she is back at her London home recovering.
She adds: "For a few months, a nurse came every day to help me. I was also given a Zimmer frame (walker) and a special stool with arm rests to use in the kitchen. But in the four months I've been home, I haven't had one visit from my GP (general practitioner), which I think is disgraceful."
Smith also reveals she is still trying to regain full speech: "It's maddening not to be able to fully express myself. It (my speech) is getting better, but I still get muddled."
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