Hospital porters who “hold the hands of the vulnerable” and make a difference to patient safety are in the running for a top health award.
The 90-strong team of porters at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan has been singled out for praise by health managers who say their compassion, commitment and kindness has improved the lives of countless patients.
The team also plays a key role in ensuring a new life-saving ‘grab bag’ swiftly reaches medical emergencies throughout the hospital. The equipment enables doctors to inject medication directly into the bone marrow of a patient when it’s not possible to use a vein.
The new intra-osseous system has been credited with saving lives and ensuring patients get the fastest medical intervention possible. It relies on the swift actions and diligence of the portering team to ensure it is ready for use as soon as it’s needed.
As a result of their support with the new system, introduced 12 months ago, the team has now been nominated for the New Ways of Working Award in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) staff awards.
As finalists, representatives of the portering team will now attend a glittering awards ceremony at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, on Wednesday 16 November.
Also nominated for the New Ways of Working Award is BCUHB’s Health Records Department, plus Manon Williams, Buddug Roberts and Louise Davies from Morfa and Porthmadog Wards at Ysbyty Alltwen in Porthmadog.
Rhys Davies, from Rhos-on-Sea, who has worked as a porter at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd for the past 10 years, said the team was deeply honoured to be recognised by hospital managers for their hard work.
“We are often one of the first to respond to an emergency and will be there on standby with the grab bag ready for the doctors,” said the 51-year-old.
“We are part of that team of first responders, tending to emergencies. When we return, we have to ensure that everything in the bag that has been used is replaced, ready for the next medical emergency.
“As a team, we’re really pleased to be nominated for this award. We have different shifts but all work incredibly hard for the team and I’m personally proud to be a part of that team.
“We do the best we can and when the phone goes we’re there, 24 hours a day. It’s nice to be valued and receive a bit of credit as it gives everyone a lift.
“Knowing you’re appreciated goes a long way.”
The awards ceremony, which will involve a three-course meal plus live music, will be attended by 350 fellow health professionals, members of staff and guests including BCUHB board members, volunteers and representatives from the Community Health Council.
Winners from the 15 categories will be presented with an engraved glass trophy by Chief Executive Gary Doherty and Chairman Peter Higson.
Rhys, who used to work for Boots in Llandudno before becoming a porter, said the best part of his job was talking to the patients and helping to reassure them.
“I enjoy helping people and making people feel better. Some patients don’t have any relatives and taking time to chat to them between jobs goes a long way and can brighten their day,” he said.
“It doesn’t cost anything to smile or say hello and find out a bit about the person. It can be a very long day in hospital if you’ve no relatives to come and spend time with you.
“All of the porters give 100% and give the patients a lift.”
Fellow porter Paul Rowlands, 64, from Llanddulas, said it was very moving to be able to help in an emergency and to watch someone make a full recovery.
“When you later read about them thanking the hospital in the newspaper, it’s very rewarding because you’ve been a part of that team,” said the grandfather-of-two, who formerly worked as a TV engineer.
“There are lots of different roles in a hospital from domestic cleaners and kitchen staff through to the porters and volunteers – we’re all in the background giving 100%. We might not be on the frontline but we are all part of the service just the same.
“This job involves a lot of patient contact. We have to transport patients between wards and departments and take them for scans and X-rays.
“It doesn’t matter who explains the process, when you see someone coming towards you with a syringe or needle it can be frightening. If you’ve never had a CT scan before, it can be nerve-wracking. We’re on-hand to reassure and calm them.”
The team was nominated for the award by Vikki Montgomery, an advanced nurse practitioner from the hospital’s Acute Interventions Team. She said the portering team’s support for the new grab bag facility had helped to save lives and made a difference to countless patients.
“They are an amazing group of individuals who do not stop, they work incredibly hard 24/7 in a difficult and demanding role,” she said.
“They are a caring, compassionate, intelligent and outstanding group of men and women and should be highly commended. They are fantastic communicators and friendly, regardless of the demands heaped upon them continuously.
“I have seen them hold the hand of the vulnerable and provide comfort; I have seen them slog continuously to meet the demands of a large busy hospital and still smile; I have seen them go out of their way to support all hospital staff (regardless of rank or role) on numerous occasions; I have seen them give more than they can spare.”
The health board received more than 100 nominations across the 15 award categories. Entries were judged by a selection board comprising Chairman Dr Peter Higson, Chief Executive Gary Doherty, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development Martin Jones, Independent Board Member and former midwife Jenie Dean and Director of Finance Russ Favager.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Chief Executive Gary Doherty said: “These awards celebrate the hard work, commitment and success of our staff and volunteers.
“Improving our support to staff is one of the key objectives for myself, as Chief Executive, and the Board. We believe these awards will help to show how much we value our dedicated colleagues across the organisation.
“It was wonderful to read all the nominations, which have come from colleagues and from patients. It was a difficult task to shortlist three for each award – and even harder to decide on the winners.
“I am looking forward to meeting all the nominees on the evening and thanking them personally for helping deliver excellence in patients in North Wales.”