Category Archives: Sunday Spot

Sunday Spot: The Starfish Story- Making a Difference


I don’t really care that I am over-optimistic, naive and an idealist.
We are all different and need the pessimistic realists as well (although they are not much fun to be round).
Someone reminded me of this story this morning (thanks James) and it sent shivers down my spine as he told it.
And I still believe. that in the face of insurmountable odds, that I can make a difference.
How about you?

The Star Thrower (adapted)
by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, so he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

As if he hadn’t heard, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

Sunday Blog: Passionate about the NHS. Passionate about Patient Care

I’ve been really lucky in my jobs. I’ve never had a job I hated; and barring the bad days, never had a job I didn’t love. As an RMN, CPN, Drug Cousellor, Baptist Minister and Chaplain.

And I am not on my own.

I have entered the world of Twitter (@revdavesouthall) and am following a number of people in Worcestershire hospitals who say they are passionate about their job.


Martina Morris @MartinaMorris76
I am the Service Lead – Safe Care at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. Really passionate about patient safety, high standards and quality patient care.

And many many others.

And it’s not just words. Come to Worcester Royal at 3pm when the early shift is ending, and you won’t find many nurses leaving then. Come at 3:30 or 4pm and they will leave.

You see this is not just a clock on/clock off job. It is about passion for the patients and service.

And read the comments below. Scroll down and see, time after time, thank yous for people going the extra mile.

Of course, this is not everyone. But it is a significant majority. People who really care.
Really want the best for patients.
And know that what they do makes a difference

They deserve our thanks.

“HOSPITAL DOES ITS JOB” Should be Headline News Every Day

I was taxed by two things this week.

The first was the overstatement from Local Councillor Maddy Bunker who tweeted: “Mistakes so often by Acute Trust” and went on to tell a tragic tale.

The second was from Radio Broadcaster Michael Collie when he interviewed me on Radio HandW saying “But is “hospital does it’s job” news, that’s what it is supposed to do.”

Now no one is saying there aren’t sad stories, sometimes caused by human error Ms. Bunker. The NHS, unlike local politics, deals with matters of life and death every day.Sometimes mistakes happen- always a tragedy whatever the situation and whoever is to blame.

And YES, Mr Collie, “Hospital does it’s job” is headline news. Look at the blog and do the math.

It is for my friend who had a detached retina, and whose sight was saved by quick treatment.
It is for Chris, whose chemo treatment worked.
It is for Beryl’s family who will always remember her passing as a time that mattered to the nurses and full of compassion.
It is for Mrs Smith who, time after time, has has excellent treatment.
It is for the couple who lost thier baby and were surrounded by kindness.

It is for those thousands who will be treated today and tomorrow and beyond.
And I dare say it will be for you Mr. Collie and Ms. Bunker should you ever need our services.

That’s why people come to us and not to the radio studio or the local council offices when they are ill.

I am not asking for a whitewash. For a cloud cuckoo land where we dream that everything is right.

Just for some balance, where in a different world, where good news sold, “Hospital does amazing things” would be headline news every day.

Sunday Blog: Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make a difference

An old woman whose life had been spent making a huge change in the life of the poor once said:

We cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.

Mother Theresa was right. Although in her case she fulfilled both parts of the statement.

And in a fame driven culture, where kids want to be famous for being famous rather than for doing something worthwhile, it is easy to disregard the small things that we do which have great impact.

A smile
A “thank you”
A compassionate or caring act

These and so many other things, can make a huge difference.

OK, so you won’t get into the papers, but you will create ripples which spread out from you to others.

And your good news can make a difference.

Already staff have said that they are encouraged.
Patients have a voice which is not skewed by the negative.
And the community have a chance to be informed and heartened.

I’m not niaive enough to think that writing a blog can change the world. But in another quote Mother Theresa says:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

There’s a challenge for us all. Maybe this week we should see what stone we can cast and watch the ripples.