A campaign launched by a terminally-ill doctor to get healthcare staff to introduce themselves to patients is being backed by more than 90 NHS organisations.
Dr Kate Granger’s the “Hello, my name is...” campaign, launched while she was having treatment for cancer, has been described as “inspiring” by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The 31-year-old consultant, who works at Pinderfields Hospital, set up the campaign around two years ago using the Twitter hashtag #hellomynameis after noticing that many hospital staff did not take the time to explain to patients who they were.
Dr Granger wrote on her blog: “This felt very wrong so, encouraged and supported by my husband, we decided to start a campaign to encourage and remind healthcare staff about the importance of introductions in the delivery of care.
“I firmly believe it is not just about knowing someone’s name, but it runs much deeper. It is about making a human connection, beginning a therapeutic relationship and building trust.
“In my mind it is the first rung on the ladder to providing compassionate care.
“I really hope my legacy will be putting compassionate practice right at the heart of healthcare delivery every single day.”
Dr Granger was diagnosed with cancer during a holiday the United States in 2011.
But it was only after she returned to Yorkshire and after the cancer had spread that it was properly diagnosed as a rare type of sarcoma, which attacks the tissue supporting internal organs.
She has been treated with debilitating palliative chemotherapy and is due to start a latest round of treatment.
In her latest blog post, published just after Christmas, she wrote: “I am about to confront some of the most challenging decision-making I have had to on this incredibly tough journey.
“I’m not sure how I will. Do I give the poisoning another shot? Or do I bow out gracefully now? Will treatment have an outcome that we will be satisfied with? How bearable will the toxicities be?”
She added, addressing the cancer: “2015 is likely to be the year you finally get the better of me, but at least I can look back on a life well lived with a true purpose. I’m really scared so please be kind in the way that you decide to take my life.”
Some 400,000 doctors, nurses, therapists, receptionists and porters across 90 organisations are now backing the drive.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This is an inspiring campaign. All patients should be treated with compassion and the fact this movement has started from within the NHS itself makes it all the more powerful.”
Dr Granger told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “The lack of introductions really made me feel like just a diseased body, not a person. When somebody did introduce themselves it just made a massive difference to how I felt.
“There is evidence out there that it actually improves patient outcomes, that if you have a good relationship with your healthcare staff you are more likely to trust them, you are more likely to share intimate information.”