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'It’s a shame great work never hits the headlines'


Recently, I had a chat with a friend about how long she had to wait for her regular check-up at her hospital. Six hours apparently.

And no reason for the delay given. A surly service when she eventually did make it from waiting room to consultation couch didn’t help either.

The public often criticise the NHS for being designed around its staff rather than patients. But although we’ve all heard these anecdotes, this situation isn’t the whole truth.

Last week, I visited University Hospital Wales to see the work being done by two specialist epilepsy nurses – Malisa and Vicky, who were definitely not putting their needs before those of their patients. They have a whopping 13,000 patients, but are constantly redesigning services to make them more accessible, and more patient-centred. Initiatives include email helplines for GPs, clinics focused around specific groups, such as pregnant women and patients with low-grade gliomas. And they scooped a finalists’ place in last year’s Nursing Times Awards for carrying bleeps so they can be on call when on duty to attend to people who have presented at A&E with possible epilepsy, to help speed up their journey through hospital. That’s putting patients first – and it has only been achieved because of the nurses’ commitment.

Last week, hydration once again hit the headlines. But despite the tabloid appetite for slamming nurses’ handling of this issue, some exceptional work is being done in this field. Nurses have devised several methods of identifying the importance of hydration, such as colour coding water jugs, and in Guernsey, they even themed their Christmas tree to remind patients of the importance of hydration.

And, the Hydrant, winner of the Silver Award at our Nursing Times Product Awards in November, enables those patients unable to get to a jug, access to water using a simple cup and straw. A brilliant idea tackling a vital issue by putting patients first. This happens a lot, but, sadly, doesn’t make the tabloid headlines.


Readers' comments (11)

  • I am always saying that we don't sing our own praises enough.
    Our trust 's media dept is always putting out information to the local press about positive things that have happened. Unfortunately the stories never get a high profile so often go unnoticed.
    I think its a great shame because the majority of work carried out in the NHS has a positive impact on the patients.

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  • I really do not see the need to blow our own trumpets. We do our work to the very best of our abilities which gives plenty of intrinsic satisfaction when we see that our patients are comfortable and making progress and content with the care they are receiving, which is the majority of them. Very often the few who grumble either have grounds to do so and can see we do our very best to rectify the problems, or they are people who have difficulties or some sort, or they are people who are very difficult to satisfy wherever they are and are more difficult to apease. But a hospital media department to publicise your work... I can't find any comments to make, but there seems to be a problem there.

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  • continuation of above/.....

    Nursing is about the patients and not about soliciting attention and praise for what we do!

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  • anon 5.42.

    do you never read the tabloid press?

    the only attention we recieve is bad. . . . .so good work should be identified and brought to public attention to redress that balance.

    The NHS is still a nationalised body for public consumption.

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  • If you use the services of the NHS you expect it to be good. You don't need to rely on the media it is your own personal experience of the service you recieve that counts and you don't work in it just to solicit praise from your patients. as I said above it is what you do for your patients that is important and thanks for a good job done should be more than enough or feedback if the job was not up to patients expectations so that you can see what has gone wrong, learn from it and take measures to improve.

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  • typical of the ME NOW GENERATION who lack self esteem and need instant praise and reassurance in everything they do.

    putting patients at the centre of care and others is key of instead of always thinking 'what me needs now' which will lead to much improved standards of care and there will be far greater patient satisfaction, job satisfaction and appreciation from the public. All this comes on its own not when people go out of their way to seek it.

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  • I feel sad about the comments above.

    Good practice needs to be raised above the parapet and the reasons being:-

    1) It raises awareness
    2) If the public get to know then they are more confident and positive about their care when they enter hospital.
    3) It can embarass areas of poor practice and shame people into higher standards of care.

    The NHS is a public service; and the public pay for this service. Hence they do need to know where the good practice is.

    If I need to go into hospital or receive some particular health care I will contact the service and find out what they do. In the past I have turned down a bed, stating that I was concerned about the rate of hospital infections in this particular hospital. Believe it or not I was given another bed in another hospital and had a good experience.

    So - the public need to know about good practice and where its is and it is the nurses' responsibility to make sure that the public do know. Have a look at the bit in the NMC code which talks about confidence in care.

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  • The comments above about not needing to publicise good practice were probably sent in by the same people who recently lost all the staffs hospital evidence! LOL

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  • "The NHS is a public service; and the public pay for this service. Hence they do need to know where the good practice is."

    This is ludicrous. Good practice must be made consistent throughout the country for the safety and well-being of the patients. The public pay for the services and everybody has an equal right to the same good practice.

    The NMC code applies to all care and not just some delivered by some nurses and those who do not practice this have no place on the register. This is not dependent on individual interpretation.

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  • "The comments above about not needing to publicise good practice were probably sent in by the same people who recently lost all the staffs hospital evidence! LOL"

    Its a question of pragmatics and not publicity and singing your own praises for the media.

    Interesting how you jump to conclusions and I fail to see the connection between Staffs and other centres of nursing excellence where staff concentrate on patient care and do not have to blow their own trumpet to the media besides you may have noticed that reports in the media are not always accurate.

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