The community support for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has been outstanding says Chief Nurse Professor Nancy Fontaine.
Professor Nancy Fontaine, Chief Nurse, says: “We want to say a big thank you for all the support we have received, both in the first wave of the pandemic and in the last couple of months when we know how hard it has been for families and businesses. It means the world to us when we know our local community has us in their hearts and they are urging us on, however difficult it might be at the time.
“The support we have received has come in a variety of ways and from a wide range of people. Local firefighters have been helping to train our staff in the fitting of PPE masks, retired health and social care workers have volunteered to help in our vaccination centre and some have been helping our patients at mealtimes. There have also been such generous contributions from our many fundraisers who have supported us throughout this period.”
“We are starting to see a reduction in the number of patients being admitted with Covid-19 and this is all down to local people sticking to the lockdown rules and we hope this will continue with the success of the vaccination programme. Please keep up the good work and let’s defeat this virus together.”
The wide ranging support offered to the hospital includes thank you letters, children’s paintings and cards for the wards which have been raising the spirits of staff. The hospital has been overwhelmed with messages of support and gifts donated to the Norfolk & Norwich Hospitals Charity through its Amazon Smile wish list, benefiting both patients and staff. The thoughtful gifts which range from items to support wellbeing to delicious snacks and chocolate treats, have been given out to busy staff working in ward areas and departments such as the Children’s Emergency Department.
This followed generous donations from the public to the hospital’s ‘Send a smile with Santa campaign’ when all patients, including children, received a gift on Christmas Day. Staff working on Christmas Day also received a range of goodies donated by community groups.
Through national support from NHS Charities Together, which includes the money raised by Captain Sir Tom Moore, and donations direct to the N&N Hospitals charity, there has also been funding for a whole range of initiatives to support patients and staff. These include care packages for patients with cancer, additional rest areas for staff and a system to enable remote support for patients with Motor Neurone Disease.
Local people continue to fundraise for the N&N Hospitals Charity including Simon Kindleysides who is paralysed and using his ReWalk Robotics suit to walk four miles a day to raise money. Budding artist Bethany-Kate McKenzie, 14, has been making badges to raise money for the charity using a machine bought with her own money.
A group of NNUH staff have also climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest to raise money for the N&N Hospitals Charity using the stairwell at the hospital – the equivalent of the world’s tallest mountain – requiring them to climb their stairs 369 times to reach the summit.
The generous support from members of the community and businesses, includes donations to the Trust’s £800,000 Boudicca Appeal to create a dedicated breast cancer unit at NNUH. The additional equipment for the new clinic has already been purchased and the next step is to revamp the clinic area to provide a welcoming and friendly space for patients and relatives.
John Paul Garside, Director of the N&N Hospitals Charity said: “Once again the community across Norfolk have been supporting our patients and staff during a difficult period and we are truly grateful.”
“It’s fantastic that the public have supported us through Amazon Smile which enables items to be purchased from our wishlist. This also helps us to reduce unnecessary journeys to the hospital which keeps everyone safe.
“During the pandemic, our team has increased its infection control procedures for donations, cleaning items or observing a quarantine period.”
Local business consultancy Chamber Bales has also funded goody bags which were given out by the Chaplaincy team to staff working night shifts on the wards, alongside pastoral support offered by the chaplains.
Adrian Woodbridge, Lead Chaplain, said: “The goody bags have been very well received by the staff who are working at night. We’ve been supporting our colleagues with a friendly face and a chat and the drink and snack packs show the staff that local people are thinking of them which gives everyone a boost.’
The N&N Hospitals Charity has been directing members of the public to donate to their Covid Appeal at www.nnuhcharity.org.uk or to visit the NNUH Amazon Wish List where people can purchase items that will support staff.
To find out more on how you can donate or support safely please visit www.nnuhcharity.org.uk