In recent weeks there have been all sorts of bad news stories about winter pressures on the NHS.
Hospitals and ambulance services have been working hard to meet unprecedented demand on their resources.
As I now work for a trust that runs several hospitals and community services in the Lancaster and Morecambe area, South Cumbria and the Fylde Coast, I am acutely aware of how hard NHS staff are working to make sure patients receive the best possible care.
However, there’s another side to the NHS that the general public doesn’t always see.
In my work as a communications officer for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust I am constantly coming across members of staff who go above and beyond the call of duty for patients.
There are too many to mention here, but one of them stands out.
One doctor, who looks after gravely ill children at the trust, was caring for a young girl with a brain tumour just before Christmas last year. He got to know the family well and even made himself available on Christmas Day.
Sadly, the girl died and he went to the family’s home to be with them. He has a large family of his own and yet he always makes extra time for children in his care; a truly compassionate man.
Other members of staff have been coming up with ways of giving patients a happy Christmas. It’s a heart-breaking fact that many patients don’t have any next-of-kin so youngsters on one of the Children’s Wards have been encouraged to make Christmas cards for them.
I had a lump in my throat when I saw the thought and care that the children were putting into the cards.
The trust’s choir is gearing up to sing on wards and members of staff have been organising Christmas-themed events to bring a little festive cheer to patients.
I take my hat off to the countless members of staff who go the extra mile - we’re lucky to have them.