Talk Health and Care

Loyal to the Last .....but So What!!!

I started in 1979, passionate, so keen to care, so loyal to the NHS whichever hospital I worked in, I'd work hard, I climbed the clinical ladder, PICU sister at Great Ormond St Hosp, naively believing I could make a difference, I worked late, on days off. I had children, I continued to work at a regional distric hospital now as a clinical nurse consultant, then clinical nurse manager. My children came to work with me out of hours to ensure wards were covered and my staff supported and care was there and of a hiigh standard. One winter I tookmy daughter to work, breast fed her in the sisters office and then went on to care for babies on the unit as due to a bronchiolitis outbreak we had to provide HDU on a general paed ward (and staff relied on my PICU skills). 

Later as a childrens services manager my children slept in sleeping bags in my office so I could sort staffing out of an evening. Safe to say I gone above and beyond, as there was always a family, or a child or frazzled staff I didnt have the heart to leave.

After 25 years working for the NHS, nobody knew nobody acknowledge my service. My sisters company treated her to a pay bonus, some extra holiday, a bunch of lowers. I didnt get so much as a thank you!!! 30 yrs went by then 35..... nothing!

I thought it was cos no-one knew, I'd lost sight of the fact each hospital was a separate entity.........until I collected my NHS pension recently. I received a sheet that knew my service contribution down to the day!

My pension started for which I am grateful but I felt so sad and so used and abused and felt horrible that I had put my family through so much for the NHS, and for what? My mother was wonderful she saw my despair and sent me a bunch of flowers on my last day thanking me as if from all the families I'd ever cared for, from all the staff I'd supported and developed. I sobbed for hours.

Why doesn't the NHS use the pension service info to send at least a letter of recognition and thanks to people at 10, 20, 30 years of service. I feel sad when I see the awards for best nurse or the NHS 70 yrs and think of myself and some of the fantastic people Ive worked with who have gone unacknowledged and unapplauded.

The NHS patients win our loyalty not each place we work, so the NHS should find some way of acknowledging all not just celebrating a few!

What would you like to happen to make you feel more included and valued at work?

edited on Oct 25, 2018 by Adam DHSC

Adam DHSC 8 months ago

Thanks for your comments Jacqui. I am looking into this and will let you know.


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Matt Hancock 7 months ago

Dear Jacqui,

First of all I want to thank you on behalf of the thousands of lives you have helped. Without fantastic staff like you the NHS wouldn’t be what we know of it today. As you have said appreciating the hard work and lifetimes that people commit to the NHS is essential.

In July 2018, an event took place to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, and included the presentation of commemorative pin badges to NHS employers with 40+ years. However, as you have said, this is not enough as there are so many who have dedicated so much to the service that those should have special commendations too.

As you may know, some trusts already have length of service awards in place celebrating 25, 40 and 50 years of service through the issuing of monetary rewards or holding celebratory events for their long serving members of staff. However, this is not universal and following the success of the July event, I would like to see commemoration of long service in the NHS as a national initiative. Therefore, we are currently working with our counterparts in NHS Improvement, NHS England and NHS Employers to develop a strategy and programme for delivery of this initiative. We will keep you updated with the progress of this.

Thanks again and please do keep the good ideas coming!

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Carla Burns 7 months ago

Please don't regret the amazing things you did for the patients and your fellow colleagues - I have no doubt they will not forget. I completely agree that there should be an easier way for service across NHS Employers to be recognised - there's a real lack of understanding that all NHS Trusts are seperate employers! I work in the NHS but have also received NHS care on a number of occassions and I appreciate hugely the ones who went the extra mile - the ones who really cared. Thank you xx

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