Monday, 21 May 2007

Saying Thank-you

As I was leaving work today, I took a second to pause and read some of the cards that are pinned up near the entrance to our ward. These cards are from patients and the relatives of patients that we’ve had on our ward. There were four new ones that I hadn’t seen before. Two were from former patients and two were from the relatives of patients who had recently passed away. The thing that struck me while reading these cards was the sensitivity that was expressed and the gratitude that was shown to the nurses and to the doctors who had looked after people during their stay. I felt genuinely touched that people had taken the time just to say thank you.

The NHS gets a bad rep in the press and from the public at large. But, to be honest, all the stories of neglect, of uncaring staff, of MRSA and dirty wards are not at all what I see. When I meet up with my non-medical friends and they start repeating bad press stories like this to me, I tell them that I wish they could come onto a ward in an NHS hospital. I wish they could just spend an hour or two on the ward talking to the patients there and just ask them how they felt about the way they’ve been treated. I’m confident to say the vast majority of the patients would say that they’re very happy with their treatment and it’s a shame that the good experiences don’t get anywhere near as much press as the bad ones.

Last year, my father had to be taken into hospital and I have to say that I couldn’t ask for anything more from the health professionals who dealt with him. The paramedics, the A&E staff, the surgical doctors and nurses were all fantastic. It was strange being on the other side of the service, but everything got sorted out and he was treated with the utmost care and respect. I was glad.

A recent news article showed that, in fact, the vast majority of people were happy with the care that the NHS provides, and that seemed to be borne out by those cards pinned up near the entrance to our ward.


Pawlu said...


We get a similar sort of rap for our NHS (which I hope to make a part of soon...)
As it's completely state-run, it's at the beck and call of politicians and their budget. The main general hospital is a bit shabby), and resources are chronically low, but thanks to a hard working staff, the NHS keeps rolling, and in my opinion delivers a good service considering the meagre cash injection it recievs from the powers-that-be.

Currently they're building a brand new hospital which is costing the country an arm and a leg.

If only people were to realise that it's not the building that makes the hospital. It's the PEOPLE! The Americans ran probably the most efficient hospitals from tents in the Vietnam/Korea wars.

But the onus lies not with the doctors and nurses etc: these have been trained to do their job.

It lies with the administration.

So we're all doomed then.

Spirit of 1976 said...

You're right, we do tend to remember the NHS's failures and forget its successes. My local NHS trust has just announced a 74% reduction in MRSA rates over the past six years (probably just in time for them all to catch C.difficile, but there you go).

Ally said...

I agree, nothing's more rewarding than a patient's honest feeling of gratitude - wish we could see more of that kind of attitude here in Malta. Most of the times we only hear of patients complaining - maybe because of the current hospital's state of shabbiness as Pawlu stated. Hope the new hospital does the trick.

Michael said...

Absolutely. I've yet to see a ward that doesn't regularly get cards and chocolates from grateful patients. And there are very, very few patients who have left without stopping to say 'thank you' if they see one of the team who were looking after them as they leave the ward.

Cal said...

Yeah, you're right. I was on a rotation once and the relative of a patient had written this amazing poem recounting the patient's entire journey through the NHS, from paramedic through to consultant.

It was really touching to read.

Though, there was no mention of the medical student.... *sniff*