Thousands pledge to ‘do something different’ for NHS

  • Posted

Posted 03/03/2014

Julie Crossley 1340718845_JulieCrossleyPX.jpg

Thousands of people working across the NHS are doing something different to improve care as part of NHS Change Day. Last year, 189,000 people took part by making a pledge online – and this year the aim is to get 500,000 pledges. This year, there have been pledges from everyone from NHS managers and chief executives, to nurses, doctors and healthcare assistants around the country.

A number of NHS staff are using the day to experience first-hand what their patients have to endure. Making sure a child’s teddy bear is visible after surgery is one NHS Change Day pledge. Pledges include a GP spending a day in a wheelchair to better understand disabled patients and a manager helping dementia patients eat their lunch. Two doctors came up with the idea for NHS Change Day after attending an NHS leadership course. The aim of the day is to encourage those working for the NHS – and those who use it – to make the NHS better by pledging to do something different.

Last year, Dr Damian Roland, a paediatrician at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and one of the founders of NHS Change Day, tasted the medicines he routinely prescribed to his child patients and, realising they were very unpleasant, decided to work with his pharmacy to try to improve their taste. This year Dr Roland is going to lie on a spinal board for an hour to experience how patients feel in a similar position.

Lesley Chan was a dental nurse but retrained as a midwife after her daughter Amelie’s traumatic birth. Lesley feels there is a need for NHS healthcare professionals to learn sign language, so they can communicate with the many children and adults – like Amelie – who are unable to hear. So Lesley has pledged to run sign-language training for staff on NHS Change Day. Amelie, who is now nine years old, has had 22 operations. She has no hearing nerves, so she will never hear sounds or speak, and she is partially sighted. She also needs 24/7 nursing care. Amelie and Lesley designed a board to explain the basics of sign-language to staff.

Molly Kavanagh, service manager for paediatrics in the East of England, has pledged to create a storyboard that helps children diagnosed with autism or ADHD better understand the treatment they will receive.

NHS Change Day is about breaking down traditional barriers and recognising that everyone who works in, uses or cares about the NHS has the power to make a difference. Dr Roland said: “A single pledge might not sound like much on the face of it, but when hundreds of thousands of people from every part of the NHS join forces with patients to pledge, it can create massive momentum for improvement.”

Julie Crossley, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal, comments: “What a brilliant idea, lets hope it makes a difference and helps medical staff better understand what their patients are going through”.


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