Monthly Archives: March 2014

Treading in the Footsteps of Others: A Chaplain’s Compassion

Others will follow your footsteps easier than they will your advice.

Others will follow your footsteps easier than they will your advice.

I used to play a game on the beach with my daughter when she was younger.
I would walk along the shoreline, barefooted in the wet sand, and she would follow me, trying her best to walk in my footprints and not leave a mark of her own.

It’s easy to think that we are IT isn’t it? Well it is for me at least!
The fact that we are here NOW is obvious. But many have trodden these paths before us, doing the job that we do, making a difference.
We really do stand on the shoulders of giants.

This was brought home to me by a recent email from a retired Chaplain who was a perdecessor of mine: Canon Lisle Ryder.

Lisle had seen mention of my blog somewhere and wrote to express his appreciation. He worked at Castle Street and Ronkswood before the new site and was instrumental in the spiritual care provision (including our lovely Prayer Room) at the present site of Worcestershire Royal Hospital until 2003.

And in amongst all that he went about his business of caregiving and compassionate actions.

Lisle sent me a beautiful poem with a short explanation, which for me sums up what the business of Chaplaincy and care in the NHS are about. It moved me; and I hope it does the same for you.He says:

“This is about Jim (I’ve used his real name). I had been with when his wife had a stroke and he was a wonderful support through her recovery. Later he was admitted himself as a patient and in the meantime his wife Isabel had died. He so much appreciated seeing someone who remembered her.

Jim

You look so pleased to see me
from far along the ward – Jim:
I recognised you after several years and,
returning after analgesia relieved the pain,
shared Communion. Christ’s love
which reminded you of the struggle
of Isabel. Memories re-enacting
that stroke which took so much.
I recalled her first words, that revealed her
Scottish – the long commitment you made
to her recovery. You took her home – risen.
Her life I remember vivid, but her death
is absence.
I left you sorrowful, but
somehow thankful for what we’d known, and shared
and treasured of Isabel – her courage, our faith
made new there at the bedside. Bread
and wine hallowed again and again – risen.

WARNING: The Department of Health Doesn’t Endorse this BLOG

THIS BLOG IS NOT ENDORSED BY THE DoH READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

THIS BLOG IS NOT ENDORSED BY THE DoH
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

I love this blog!
Well I would say that wouldn’t I.
I believe it is truly DEMOCRATIC and gives people a voice in the NHS and their great experiences of being cared for.

And I continue to write letters and emails and Tweets which try to get the ‘worthies’ to publicise the Chaplain’s Blog.

And so my local politicians like Robin Walker MP and Harriet Baldwin MP have come in and given there support to what you are doing, in your stories, anecdotes, and good experiences.

“I know,” I thought. “I am sure that the Department of Health would want to plug my Blog. I know it’s nothing special but they are in charge of the whole set up.”

And so I wrote to them detailing what the blog was about.

How it was intended to spread good news.
How my survey showed that it increased staff morale and community confidence in the hospials.
How it had been taken up by politicians and the media alike.
and how a staggering 200,000 people like you had viewed it.

I was sure that they could do something to endorse it. After all, I thought, they want to increase staff morale and patients confidence on our NHS.

Now, sometimes, what’s blindingly obvious to one person is not to another- so it seems that me and the DoH were singing from different Hymnsheets.

And in response to my email I got this letter…

“Dear Dr Southall,

Thank you for your correspondence of 17 February to Dan Poulter about your Chaplain’s Blog. I have been asked to reply. The Department of Health is always pleased to read good news stories about the NHS.
Just as complaints help the NHS to deal with things that go wrong, stories such as those on your website let people know where good practice can be found. It helps them to tell others in the health service how to improve the way that they serve the public and to make sure that patients get the service that they expect and deserve.
Giving praise where praise is due gives great encouragement to staff who strive every day to meet the needs of the people in their care. As you know, their jobs can often be very demanding and words of thanks are an important boost to their morale.
However, as you will be aware, the provision of healthcare services is a matter for the NHS locally and the Department of Health does not play a role in the complaints or praise process, which should be free of political interference to ensure there is no question of bias. It would therefore not be appropriate for the Department of Health to endorse your website. I hope this reply is helpful.

Yours sincerely, Malcolm Jones. Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries”

SO BE WARNED!
NOTHING YOU READ HERE IS ENDORSED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH!

Not the stories of your great medical treatment
Not the accounts of the compassion and kindness you have told us about
Not the anecdotes which tell of those going over and above the call of duty
Not the tales of the care your recieved in your tragedy

NONE OF IT IS ENDORSED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
YOU READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

FUNNY OLD WORLD ISN’T IT!