Humans of the NHS

Today’s blog is a little different than usual, but I feel it is very important for me to use this ‘social platform’ I have created to inform you about a very inspirational website I came across…

‘Humans of the NHS’, as described on their website, ‘aim to show the public a more personal view of the people who work in the NHS by giving them a voice on a larger stage and celebrating their hard work and dedication to patient care’.

Obviously, I could write URL of the website and tell you to check it out yourself (which you definitely should, so so worth it!). However, before you do that I will try to summarise the origin and meaning of the website, as well as providing some examples of the content they post.

Who Started ‘Humans of the NHS’ – the initiative was started as an independent project, and is ran by four doctors: Natalia, Powers, Ilona Blee, Pareena Patel and Jonathan Tsun.

What Is ‘Humans of the NHS’ – as stated above, they are a website that allow professionals working for the NHS to send in and share their life-changing / memorable experiences.

Where to contact / find ‘Humans of the NHS’ 






Why was ‘Humans of the NHS started?’ – to provide a social platform for NHS staff to share their stories, and for others to appreciate the work of all the individuals that contribute to the NHS

How does the ‘Humans of the NHS’ work? – NHS staff members are interviews, their photo is taken, and their story is shared on social media.

Examples of content:

The one thing that really caught my attention about this site was the variety of different stories from a range of different individuals. There was no bias towards doctors or nurses, in fact every individual working for the NHS has the right to send in a story of their experience.

There were stories that were hugely eye-opening and emotional…

“I’ll tell you about my most memorable patient. This elderly gentleman came in with his wife in a wheelchair. He said, ‘She’s just not walking… we don’t really know why.’ I asked, ‘Is she normally in a wheelchair?’ He said no. Something wasn’t right with his wife, I examined her and I couldn’t find anything, so I organised some tests, and then ended up sending her in to A+E the following day.
3 weeks later, the husband came in to see me on his own. I knew in the meantime that his wife had passed away because we had received a notification from the hospital. He came in, and on his left hand he had two rings – his ring and her ring. There was a palpable sense of sadness when he came in. He, of course, had tears and he said it had been so fast… just 3 weeks. I didn’t expect the 3 weeks and neither did they. He wanted to just come, not for himself, but just to come and talk.
He talked about what happened in hospital and about what would happen next. Toward the end of our appointment, I asked him, ‘Is there anything else that you need from me? You can always come back and see me. It’s going to be a difficult for a few weeks. A few months, maybe longer.’
And he just said, ‘Would you do one thing for me? Will you just dance with me?’ I’ve never been asked that. I said of course. He mentioned ballroom dancing during one of our previous appointments and I mentioned I was still learning. He took my hands and held me, and we just danced a few steps in the room. He just wanted a hug; he just wanted to be held after he’d lost his wife. That was the last time that I saw him. It was a lovely way of saying goodbye.” – Rachna, GP
Whereas other stories were incredibly heart-warming…
“We had a patient who was diagnosed with a very serious condition who was due to go in for surgery. The doctors didn’t know if he would survive the surgery, but they reserved him a bed in the Intensive Treatment Unit. This was in January and he was due to marry his fiancé in July.
They really wanted to get married so I arranged for someone to come from the local registry office to marry them. I went to the florist and she had a posey made and the best man had a buttonhole. The patient had a buttonhole in his gown as well. We transferred him to the Intensive Treatment Unit and they got married in the hospital. He went for his surgery, came out, went to intensive care, and stayed with us for 5 weeks while he recovered.
We got him back on his feet, and he went home, he married his wife properly in a church and had a big ceremony. They come in every year to see us and bring in sweets and biscuits.” – Healthcare Support Worker
Some stories managed to show just how caring and supportive the staff of the NHS really are…
“I had one patient who was dying and had no recollection of what was going on around her. The relative came in and she eventually passed away. I believe that, when a person is gone, they are gone. But after I’d finished my shift, I went in there and said goodnight to the patient who had just passed away. The relative stood there and cried and said, ‘Just to see that you cared that much… For you to come and say goodnight to my mum who has died… It means a lot.’ It was really important for him to hear that someone who cared that much had looked after his mum.” – Ward Sister

And others highlighted how difficult working in the NHS actually is, making us respect the staff even more…

“When people ask me if I remember past patients, one young man always comes to mind. He died following complications after an elective operation I performed, and he left behind a wife and young child. 20 years later, I still look back on that memory and wonder how it could have been different. But I have never made the same mistake again and I made sure I passed on the information I had learnt.

But it wasn’t a very caring system back then. I went to Coroners’ Court and had to stand up and explain in front the patient’s family and in the full blaze of publicity how an operation I had performed led to the death of somebody they loved. I then returned to work and nobody asked, ‘Are you alright?’ Worse still, I did an operating list the following day and I was terrified. The list went well, but it would have been helpful for somebody to say, ‘I’m going to just stand by you while you do the next case.’” – Peter, Chief Executive of FMLM

These stories are only a few of the range of experiences available to read for free on the ‘Humans of the NHS’ website. Regardless of whether you aspire to be / are already working in the NHS or if you are someone who has nothing to do with the NHS, please have a look and share this website to give the doctors who came up with such a great initiative the credit they deserve. I am sure everyone can agree that working for the NHS definitely isn’t easily, but hopefully through this website we can at least appreciate the work they do for us on a daily basis.

Thank you so much for reading, if you enjoyed this style of blog please let me know by sharing and commenting down below!



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