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Chaplain spreads ‘good news’ about the NHS

A hospital chaplain’s attempts to publicise good news stories about health service care have increased staff morale and now he wants to encourage other trusts to adopt the same idea.

The Reverend Dr David Southall is chaplaincy team leader at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

For nearly 12 months he has been writing a “good news blog” based on examples of positive feedback from patients. Its content is completely independent of trust control.

He set up the blog this time last year in response to what he described as the “constant stream of negative publicity” that the NHS was getting in local and national media.

Rev Southall said: “The response has been phenomenal. I thought it would just be a little thing with just a few views.

“But to date the blog has had 150,000 views, has a backlog of contributions of good news stories from patient who have received great treatment,” he said.

A recent online survey of 240 blog users showed 80% of respondents said it had improved staff morale and 60% said it had had a positive impact on community confidence. Rev Southall has presented the survey results to the trust board.

Interest in the blog has also led his local newspaper, the Worcester News, to ask Rev Southall to write a weekly feature.

David Southall

David Southall

His next aim is to create a network of “good news blogs” across the NHS.

“My vision is for a range of good news blogs across other trusts and I have had some interest from others in setting blogs up in their own trust,” he told Nursing Times.

Last year was characterised by a series of high profile reports on the NHS, many focusing on its problems – most notably the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

In a recent Nursing Times survey of over 500 nurses, 24% said the Francis report had led to unfair criticism of the profession and the NHS.

The following comments were typical of the views raised by nurses regarding how the profession was being portrayed in the national media.

One respondent said: “The Francis report has made little difference, only made frontline nurses feel under attack by the press, public, and government.”

Another said: “What can I say, I still love being a nurse but am sick of the way we are being treated by our employers, by the government and by the press.”

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