NHS 70

Celebrating 70 years of the NHS

The National Health Service is turning 70 on 5 July 2018. It’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our person-centred staff and the incredible care they provide.

To celebrate the last 70 years we've asked our staff what the NHS means to them and what their personal highlights are. From five years service to 40, staff from all over the organisation tell us their inspirational stories: 

 

Sheena Cumiskey, Chief Executive 

How long have you worked in the NHS?

35 years

What does the NHS mean to you?

The NHS represents the spirit of our country, as it sees each person as a unique individual who has a right to health regardless of their background.

How have attitudes towards health care changed?

When I first joined the NHS it was incredibly paternalistic and hierarchical with the Dr being seen to always know best. Unwanted variation and institutionalised care was condoned. Today partnership with patients is embraced and multi-disciplinary team work is welcomed.

There is a real desire for each person, be it staff or patient to be the best they can be regardless of background.

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years?

Quality of care being viewed as prime importance. Closure of the long stay institutions with commensurate development of community based care. Drive to parity of esteem between physical and mental health but we are not there yet!  

What has been your personal highlight?

The privilege to help make a positive difference to people’s lives.



Cathy Walsh, AD of Patient and Carer Experience

How long have you worked in the NHS?

37 years

What does the NHS mean to you?

A very proud life-long career with the opportunity to support people and challenge the stigma associated with Mental health

How have attitudes towards health care changed?

I think people are much more ‘health aware’, know more about what is helpful and what they can do to prevent ill-health. Whether they choose to act on that information is another matter. It’s much more about finding out what matters to people in order to support their own self-care than doing things ‘to’ people, as it used to be. May be its cliché but I think it’s true.

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years?

I think mental health care has come such a long way from the time when people with mental health problems were being cared for within big institutions (whilst I never worked in one, I did care for people who had been in them). I also remember a time when care was so process driven. So for example staff would put milk and sugar into the actual teapot and then serve it out, so people had milk and sugar whether they wanted it or not! There wasn’t any choice!

I also remember a couple of occasions as student nurse diving into the laundry cupboard when the ‘Nursing Officer’ came and did her daily visit as I wasn’t wearing my nurses cap!!!

Oh my now I do feel old….thanks for making me remember that!

What has been your personal highlight?

The time when a lady who was expecting a baby came up to me in the street with her daughter by her side. She introduced me to her daughter and thanked me for the care that I had given her during the nights that I had cared for her following the birth of her daughter when she was admitted to an acute mental health ward after experiencing post-natal psychosis. She explained that whilst she was extremely distressed and psychotic and she didn’t remember a great deal about her 6 week inpatient stay following the birth of her daughter - she said she had always remembered the care that I gave her.

She said she wanted to let me know that due the care she received she wasn’t frightened of having another baby and experiencing the same thing. She said she remembered that I had told her that her mental health team would support and monitor and care for her through any future pregnancies. She was pregnant again and was well cared for and wanted to say thank you. I am proud to say that the daughter in the story now has a daughter of her own and they both continue to say hello when we bump into each other in our local ASDA. 

Another proud moment, shortly after joining CWP in 2002 the Trust introduced the Modern Matron (as they were called then) and I was one of the first Modern Matrons in Mental Health and invited to London to celebrate the event (very proud).

All this leads to me say ….age is a number, and we continue to grow and there is always an opportunity to learn new things, change and develop just like the NHS has. And after 37years I am still trying to be the best I can be and serve the NHS very proudly!

 

Mel Bloor-Steen, Executive Assistant

The NHS is one of the fairest healthcare systems in the world; at its heart is the premise of equality.

When the NHS was launched in 1948, two of its core principles were that it be free at the point of delivery and that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.  These principles remain at its core and access to NHS services is based solely on a person’s need for healthcare, rather than their ability to pay for it.

Equality is very important to me, in every guise, and is one of my personal values.  Consequently, it makes me very proud to be part of a nation that values everyone’s healthcare, irrespective of anything but their clinical needs.

Working at CWP, and running the Parkrun NHS70 event, affords me the opportunity to show my support of our wonderful NHS.

 

Roisin Reynolds, Head of Clinical Services

What does the NHS mean to you?

The NHS was founded on 3 core principles:

  • that it meet the needs of everyone
  • that it be free at the point of delivery
  • that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay

As a clinician I have spent most of my career in substance misuse and I embrace these principles as the foundation of the service I offer to service users. As a manager I am proud that I have embedded these principles in the services that I manage.

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years?
From the early days of the NHS when a vaccination programme were revolutionary to test tube babies, Aids awareness, organ donation and smoking bans the NHS has embraced change and has been at the forefront of some of the best treatment available worldwide, whilst trying to maintain the core principles identified in 1948.  The expansion of training programmes to allow people from all walks of life to gain a qualification and work in the NHS has been exciting and very positive. The committed to armed forces personnel and veterans is humbling.

How have attitudes towards health care changed?

I believe that the NHS is as crucial to British society today as it was in 1948 and we must do everything we can to maintain it, whilst continuing to support people in taking personal responsibility for stay healthy – availability of smoking cessation and weight management being an example of this.

My personal Highlight

Qualifying as a registered mental health nurse in April 1990.

Ken Edwards, Clinical Education Lead & Security & Safety Lead

What does the NHS mean to you?

My NHS is like another part of the extended family, not too close but always there when you need some help and support. My NHS always has time to listen and give me a helping hand.

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years?

During my nearly 31 years’ service change has always been a feature, the positive example being the shift from institutional controlled care to community coproduced support which values individuals and their choices.

How have attitudes towards health care changed?

Three words: Patient centred thinking!!

Vivienne Williamson, Head of Resources

I joined CWP nearly 14 years ago in an administration role because although I didn’t have a clinical background, I wanted a role that made a difference in healthcare.  

I have been very fortunate, after a number of years in Temporary Staffing and now the Resourcing team, to have worked with staff across the Trust to support their services and have a positive impact. 

In that time CWP has seen some significant changes but throughout all the challenges everyone I have worked with has been focused on excellent patient care and, in my experience, this sense of purpose has remained a constant across all our clinical and support services. 

Helen Owen-Mckenzie, Clinical Coordinator

How long have you worked for the NHS?

30-40 Years

What does the NHS mean to you?

It means health care for my family. It is expert care when needed. It is a value based system where "your work "is measured by your patients/service users not just by your employer. It is my employer.

How have attitudes towards health care changed?

I think that the boundaries have been blurred between health and social care. Sometimes it is portrayed that health care is failing but it is social care that there are gaps in. I think society shows us television programmes that show the nation’s top hospital delivering miracle care and treatment for complex conditions and society thinks that everyone can be “cured “in the same way. Local cottage hospitals can’t deliver this.

What have been the most positive changes you’ve seen throughout the years?

Shorter times in hospital for physical surgery. The patient being involved in decisions about their care re their health i.e. no decision about me without me. A more holistic model of care.

What has been your personal highlight? Still being here and working hard




Samantha Gillett, Team Secretary

How long have you worked for the NHS?

10-20 years

What does the NHS mean to you?

The NHS is a wonderful service that I hope we can continue to build and develop. Being able to deliver free healthcare to those in need is a marker that sets the UK apart from many other countries, and having such a large organisation that can be so highly specialised and filled with such amazing, committed staff is truly remarkable.

How have attitudes towards health care changed?

I believe that attitudes have changed greatly, some for the better and some perhaps not. There are many aspects of healthcare that have become medicalised where they should perhaps be normalised, I believe this change is beginning to happen in many services. We have so much more knowledge and experience than ever to try and support people as best we can to live full and independent lives.

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years? 

I believe that mental health services are continuing to make some positive changes in terms of normalising live events and encouraging people to become empowered to take control of their lives and their emotions, whilst also providing support to access employment and other mainstream activities.

What has been your personal highlight?

A personal highlight for me has certainly been this year. Not only am I partway through completing my second apprenticeship, this time a higher level, but I was also awarded the annual Going the Extra Mile Award, which was a great honour.

Lucy Crumplin, Non-Executive Director

I've worked in the NHS for 5 years.

The NHS to me is a shining example of British culture at its best as we strive to provide the best possible care and support for everyone in our community.

I think the advances in healthcare and society have been so significant and so quickly embedded that our expectations now are so much greater than in previous generations.

Some of the most positive changes from my perspective include raising awareness of mental health problems and reducing the stigma associated with that, but there's still more to do! We've come a long way from the days of asylums though!  Advances in treatment such as for cancer, heart disease, and traumatic injuries such as loss of limbs are amazing.

My personal highlight has been being associated with the wonderful people who work at CWP and show every day their commitment and compassion for others.  The work they do, often in difficult circumstances, humbles me.

Sally Brown, Community Mental Health Nurse

How long have you worked for the NHS?

20-30 years

What does the NHS mean to you?

Team working. Friendly. Career.
How have attitudes towards health care changed? Patients expect a lot more of the services they are linked with - they are far more knowledgeable of what is available and what they want. This is clearly a good thing as it means we are more proactive in our own health, but it also means that services are stretched more than ever, with fewer resources.

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years? 

I work in Mental Health. There is a definite change of attitude in the general public towards understanding of mental health, needs and services.  The stigma of having a mental health problem is very slowly disappearing. Also the treatment options for people with mental health concerns are wider and more evidence based.

What has been your personal highlight?

Working in some brilliant teams - both inpatient wards and community teams. Seeing such positive outcomes for patients after some demanding and challenging situations.  It makes the often difficult job, very rewarding.

Sue Carson, Domestic Supervisor

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years?

Technology has improved so much especially in the facilities department, no more getting down on our knees to scrub floors with hand brushes, we now have up to date machinery. New food systems with more choices have been brought in which has been favourable excepted by our patients. All staff groups appear to be working more closely together these days creating a sense of unity and teamwork which in turn improves our patient’s journey.

What has been your personal highlight?

Achieving my 30 years long service award. Of which I am very proud of.

How long have you worked for the NHS?

30-40 years

What does the NHS mean to you? I think we are very privileged to have a NHS service in our country. I am proud of the services we provide.

How have attitudes towards health care changed?

Personally I think some people in general have got very complacent with our NHS and they take it for granted.

Martin Dowler, Knowledge Manager

How long have you worked for the NHS?

20-30 years

What does the NHS mean to you?

Remembering the birth of both of my children at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral, the incredible dedication of the staff in difficult circumstances. Similarly the care given when my father was dying which was just unbelievable. The people are what make the NHS so great.

How have attitudes towards health care changed?

I think the public expect far more, ask more questions and challenge clinical staff.

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years?

Periods of improvement and investment in the 1990's, where we saw the massive waiting times for operations reduced. My mother had to wait 4 years for a hip replacement in the 1980's in a great deal of pain but many people were dealt with in the 1990's much more quickly. The range of services has broadened in many areas.

What has been your personal highlight?

In terms of the work I have been involved in, receiving a personal letter of thanks from the President of the British Association of Surgical Oncologists for my work on the national minimum dataset for breast cancer.


Beverley Dingle, Wellbeing Hub Team Manager

How long have you worked for the NHS?

30-40 years

What does the NHS mean to you? 

It is something I am proud to be part of.

How have attitudes towards health care changed? 

There has been significant improvement in regards to mental health service , however there is still a long way to go" before we get it right"

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years? 

Improvement in patients pathways and significant changes made towards reducing stigma in mental health services

What has been your personal highlight?

Receiving lots of positive compliments / recognition from both patients , relatives and colleagues in regards to my practice and becoming a ward manager

Jason MacKay

How long have you worked in the NHS?

18 years

What does the NHS mean to you?

Means I get access to free healthcare which I think is something we should keep hold of

How have attitudes towards health care changed?

Since I’ve started they have changed completely. Patient care has greatly improved and inpatient areas have also vastly improved with single bedrooms and ensuites to provide privacy and dignity.

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years?
As above, the improvement in patient care  

What has been your personal highlight?

My career progression from porter to manager 





Mike Maier, Chair

How long have you worked in the NHS?

I have worked in the NHS only for seven years after three decades in the private sector.

What does the NHS mean to you?

The objectives of the NHS remain as they did 70 years ago, as a provider of healthcare for all based on need regardless of wealth. It is an organisation where I have witnessed and received real compassion and excellent care. But I believe far better outcomes could be attained with some additional funding coupled with a refocus on early intervention and diagnosis; prevention and focus on each person's well-being rather than purely episodic treatments.

How have attitudes towards health care changed?

In recent years, there has been a realisation that care needs to be joined up rather than based on individual providers, and at last the emphasis has started to shift towards place-based care.

What have been the most positive changes you have seen throughout the years?

I recall in my first few weeks in the Trust taking part in a walk in Chester to raise awareness of the stigma that people face who have experienced issues with their mental health. Seven years later, mental health is part of the national debate, with for example, royalty and celebrities prepared to talk about their own experiences in the hope that others will feel able to do so. I am not convinced that parity of esteem has yet been reached, but undoubtedly there has been significant progress.

What has been your personal highlight?

It is almost impossible to select a single highlight. I have enjoyed every day working for CWP and these have truly been the best years of my working life. Becoming Chair is a huge honour and privilege. The recent Recognition Awards evening was an absolutely inspiring occasion where the wonderful work of our staff and their dedication was recognised.

 

 

 

 

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