50 Shades of the NHS


Its not all doom and gloom in the NHS.

I was honoured to be invited as the guest speaker at the Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS ‘Values in Practice’ Awards evening. The event was held last Thursday at the Aston Villa ground and everyone their gave of their best, sorry Villa fans but I couldn’t resist.

I was fortunate enough to spend time with both Tracy Taylor the Chief Executive of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Tom Storrow their Chairman who were both clearly very moved by all the 94 nominations and had great difficulty choosing the winners and finalists from the many great stories.

Listening to the descriptions of how these teams and individuals had gone over and above their actual duties was moving to say the least, I wasn’t alone in fighting back tears on more than one occasion.

There where Six awards broken down into the following categories. Accessible Care, namely a team or individual who illustrated a change in a way of working that made its service more accessible for its users or staff. The next one was Quality Category, the team or individual who demonstrated quality outcomes in their service delivery. The winners here were an inpatient Neurological Rehabilitation Unit (INRU) Team, Ward 9 Moseley Hall Hospital, which I have to mention as a member of the team Carla or ‘caring Carla’ as I like to think of her, looked after me for sometime when she was a member of Christine Singleton’s FES ( Functional Electronic Stimulation) Clinic.

Then the Partnership Category, where an individual or team have illustrated improvements by working with partners either internally or externally.

Then came the Commitment Category; this is to demonstrate an unswerving passion to drive forward improvements for service users. this was quite moving I found as a patient spoke via video on how this had changed things for her, although a totally different situation, I could relate so much to what she said, the difficulties she had been experiencing before she received this help. It was clear she had captured the full attention of the audience in the room as we all knew what she meant. I think here not only did the team do far more for this lady than had ever been done previously, they left her feeling so much more confident about her condition and how to deal with things in the future. This special care meant she did not have to be hospitalised, which is what we would all love in these situations, to be able to remain in our own homes when at all possible. Also, this surely has to save the NHS money in costs of paramedics for a start, beds etc.

Following on, there was the Ethical Category, in short adapting and tailoring approaches to a patient’s care to each individual.

The Responsive Category, a team or individual who have shown improvement through listening to a patient’s views and responding positively.

Then finally the Caring Category: there were two nominees here that made you feel emotional, but the one truly did bring tears to your eyes, did not only listen to the wishes of a terminally ill patient but when everyone else would feel it was impossible, she made it possible! And in her own time Staff Nurse Jessica Horabin made that last wish come true; I am beginning to feel emotional again as I recount the story.

Not only did she make that person extremely happy but when the patient passed away they did so with that happy memory rather than the unfulfilled wish to be able to visit that place, see that film. These people are truly special.

We hear in the news all the time about all the crisis issues of the NHS but we are not made aware of all these fabulous success stories that still continue and grow as that bad press continues. So I felt this week’s blog was my chance to have some positive happy feedback of news from within the NHS and also from a patient’s perspective.

On that note I would like to add, I was also fortunate enough to spend time with Christine Singleton, who also attended the same evening. Every time I visit or receive any feedback in relation to the FES department Christine heads, its going from strength to strength in yet more exciting ways. This small device I use and any of you out there also lucky enough to have one is fantastic not only for stroke survivors but many neurological conditions. It saves the NHS money and is now on trail for something else that is exciting, watch this space.

Thank you Lyndsay for inviting me to be the speaker on such a splendid evening, and thank you all for your time and company.

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