●● DR Paul Bowen (left) is a GP with McIlvride Medical Practice, Poynton, and executive chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG): MARK Twain once said he could ‘live for two months on a good compliment.’
The same could be said for NHS staff. Having previously written in this column about the value and power of complaints, I want to take a slightly more positive angle.
Thanks and compliments shower our local NHS. These informal thank yous come in the form of chocolates, Christmas cards to surgeries and, most commonly, verbal gratitude expressed by thankful patients and carers in clinics, wards and homes every day. But these compliments usually go unlogged, unrecorded and are therefore swiftly cancelled out by the hectic workload and less frequent, but more formal complaints that arrive in our inboxes.
Concerns about morale among GPs, junior doctors, nurses and consultants have been making headlines in recent times. However, I can assure you that a formal compliment has a wonderful effect. While our professions struggle with the political, economic and regulatory pressures on the NHS, a compliment grounds us and reminds us why we spend these long, stressful days (and for many colleagues, nights) in the NHS rather than pursue a different calling. This in turn helps retention of good staff and recruitment to local care services.
If you feel your care has been worth it, I’d like to urge you to consider complimenting your nurse or doctor, a clinic or surgery, a trust or department, on any good care you have received. Cards and letters are traditional, and appreciated, but it is often easier to do so online at NHS Choices where you can search for the organisation you’d like to say thank you to.
We are thankfully, via a complaint, told where we have done something wrong. This helps us change for the better. However, when we do things right, it’s just as helpful to know that we must keep going and not stop doing what we do well.
And one last thing… thank YOU for reading this and considering the point I make above!