Monthly Archives: October 2013

Rant over!! Back to Business! Praise for… Audiology, Chestnut, Postnatal, Hospital Staff

Lot's of thanks coming on!

Lot’s of thanks coming in…read on!

Ok. I’ve had my rant about “psycho” costumes…everyone deserves a rant sometimes! But now it is back to the business of GOOD NEWS. And because it has come in thick and fast I’m including a few. So here goes.



The County Audiology Manager sent me two patients comments:

“[N] has just seen Edward and colleague in clinic. I was so impressed with them both, and how they worked with my son who has Autism.”

“Service and people are so helpful and happy: no place better.”


Elizabeth Williams (Volunteer Co-ordinator) writes: “I have heard from a couple of the volunteers who though sadly leaving us as volunteers are doing so because they are both about to take up university placements, one on a Medical Degree Course and the other on a Midwifery Course, both the volunteers have expressed their thanks to the departments they have been working with Chestnut and Postnatal as they feel that the experience of volunteering has helped with not only their course choices but with their applications to university. ”

“As I start university this time next week, today was unfortunately my last shift on the Post Natal ward. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to volunteer for you at Worcestershire Royal for the past 11months. This experience has been of great benefit to me for my future venture as a Student Midwife.”

“On the 21st of September I will be going to university therefore this Saturday will be my last volunteering session on Chestnut ward. Thank you very much for all of your help. It has proved invaluable to my university application and has taught me loads about working on wards.”


Mr Sermon writes:
“Dear David
Through you I would like express my sincere appreciation for the marvellous professional way I was treated when I went for my tests on Saturday. The NHS gets an enormous amount of stick from the press and politicians, which is totally undeserved, my experience was second to none. I could find no fault, the staff were so friendly and relaxing. If there is anything wrong, it’s that the NHS is being strapped for cash by the cuts, say no more.Thank you!”


“Let’s kick a psycho”: A Free Press, Public Opinion and Other Musings


Last week I had the temerity to speak out against some large supermarkets and others for selling “psycho patient” costumes for Halloween, which was published in the Worcester News and Berrows Journal and also on line at:

I myself, like 1 in 4 of us, have had mental health challenges and I know something of the stigma attached to mental illness personally and in my previous career as a Psychiatric Nurse. I have been with patients and friends when they have been mocked in the street, and seen how this contributed to their illnesses. So when I said that the selling of these costumes was a retrograde step, I thought I was just stating the obvious; an issue with which any right-minded person would agree.

But if the comments to the online version of the article are anything to go by, I was completely wrong (all bar one). According to nameless commentators I was, one of the “professionally offended” portraying a “bull**** politically correct world” and trying to turn Britain into “the Germans,” apparently meaning ‘with no sense of humour.’ No one said “let’s kick a psycho!” but we weren’t far off. I have to say I was a little taken aback, and my friends told me that the trick is not to read the comments; but that is to let the bigoted win.

Now don’t get me wrong- I am in favour of free speech and freedom of the press; they are pillars of democracy. But I am also in favour of supporting the vulnerable, the oppressed, and the marginalised in society; that is a tenet of Christianity and a caring community. But what concerned me more was that the comments did not seem to represent the full ranges of views but only one limited viewpoint. And the people who met me and had read the article said it was helpful.

And it got me reading and thinking.

And so I read the comments for other articles; and it seemed that the same group of people comment negatively on everything. This is, of course, their right; but it is not necessarily helpful.

And so I thought: “Where are all the comments from people who agree with me?” Do they exist- or am I the only one thinking that way. Why do others, myself included, not take on others views and present the positive. And how would it feel if I had a mental health issue and read these views.

Tell you what, why don’t we flood the negative comments with the positive? With the decent, compassionate voices. With the views that let those who have a mental illness know that they have our support and care not our criticism and vitriole.

Now I don’t want to overstate the case, but I was reminded of Edward Burkes aphorism: “In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing.” Burke was talking about one of the greatest evils this world has ever seen, the Nazi Holocaust; where Jews, and gypsies and the mentally ill were ‘eliminated’. But I still think that whenever humanity is minimized, the oppressed persecuted and the ill pilloried, we have to speak out or be less than human ourselves.

And that’s what I did. And am proud to have done it. Perhaps you might visit the online article and add a comment which would reclaim the balance. Who knows, one small word might make the world a better place.


Honorary Good News Champion Robin Walker MP speaks about the annual Staff Achievement Awards

Honorary Good News Champion Robin Walker MP speaks about the annual Staff Achievement Awards

It’s an honour to hand the Chaplain’s Blog over to my first Guest Blogger: Robin Walker MP for Worcester. Robin speaks about his attendance at the Staff Achievement awards and casts an eye over the work of the Acute Trust. As a friend of the hospital and an honorary Good News Champion his comments mean a lot, and I was particularly proud to have him present my award.

“Coming to the Worcestershire Royal for the Acute Trust’s staff achievement awards last week I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. One of the very enjoyable things about being a constituency MP is that you do get invited to a number of special occasions and award ceremonies of all shapes and sizes sometimes even getting to present awards. All of them are special but last week’s was particularly wonderful and a powerful reminder of the amazing dedication and teamwork of so many passionate, hard working people in the NHS.

With awards for all levels and different roles at the hospital it was a whistle stop tour of the many different skills and careers that fit within the acute trust. Like many members of the public I was familiar with some but others needed explanation. Hearing the brief introductions of why people were excited to be nominated and the nominees explaining why they were putting them forward the one thing that kept on coming up again and again was the pride in teamwork and the huge respect and appreciation of one colleague for another. The passion for looking after patients was clear throughout and it was great to see a patient’s choice award being presented too.

There were too many deserving winners to list them all but I was particularly impressed with Frank the volunteer in his nineties who is still delivering the morning papers at the hospital. After a tough week for the A&E department it seemed somehow appropriate that the CEO’s award should go to junior charge nurse Marc Tarrant from the unit. At the end of the evening I was proud to be called to present the Chairman’s award. With so many incredible people nominated it must have been a hard decision for the judges but I was delighted when it turned out to be destined for a familiar face.

Reverend David Southall, who amidst all his other duties as a busy hospital chaplain somehow finds time to put together the good news blog does a wonderful job of reminding us all how much good news there is every hour of every day in the hospital and celebrating the achievements of all his colleagues. It was somehow appropriate that having toured the hospital at his invitation not so long ago, it should be to him that I presented the award. The whole night was a celebration of everyone who works at the hospital and, like this blog, it was a reminder that amidst all the challenges, the miracle that is our NHS is all about people.”


Shining star awards

I was privileged to attend the Annual Staff Achievement Awards at Worcestershire Acute Trust the other Friday. More than that I was honoured to receive an award from the Chairman for the Chaplain’s Blog presented by Robin Walker MP.

But what thrilled me the most was being in the presence of colleagues who gained awards for remarkable professionalism.

Each award was trailed by a video clip of the nominees saying what it would mean to them to win and how important it was.

Like Frank, the 94 year old Volunteer who three days a week takes the paper and sweet trolley around the wards. He comes in at 8:30am as regular as clockwork, and makes a huge difference. “I’d be gobsmacked if I won!” he said. And win he did, with the biggest cheer of the night. I bumped into him with his trolley the day afterwards, and when I congratulated him he said, “Well I just enjoy doing it and used to do it 5 days a week but have had to slow down.” Slow down!!! At 94 Frank could run most of us into the ground.

Or Marsha Jones, Sister on Ward 11 at the Alexandra Hospital, who said: “I may not be the best mom, or the best wife, but I am the best nurse!” How fantastic to care about nursing so much that it becomes part of your identity. Striving every day to do the best for patients.

Or my friend, Julie Poultney, Antenatal Screening Co-ordinator, who collected her award for Midwife of the Year with tears streaming down her face. Those people who have been told devastating news about their unborn baby are in safe hand with Julie.

So much more could be said. Of the Trust Board and senior management who help staff aspire; of the sponsors who funded the event; of those who were nominated, of those who day in day out, without any recognition, do outstanding work.

And so I can assure you, that staff at your hospitals really do care passionately about their work, and about the care they give. And you are in safe hand when you come into Worcestershire’s Hospitals.

AND SO THE AWARD GOES TO… well you tell me. Comment on my blog; give praise where it is due; let me know about your good news stories from our hospitals; and recognise the compassion and care of our health care professionals.