A free health service available to all at the point of delivery, irrespective of wealth, would once have seemed unimaginable. Yet today, nobody under the age of 70 can recollect life in the UK without our National Health Service (NHS).
In fact, the NHS has become such an integral part of the fabric of our lives, from birth to death and everything in between, that the danger exists we begin taking it for granted.
Or so you might think.
The esteem with which the service is held became clear from the 70th birthday anniversary celebrations this month. Citizens from all walks of life were eager to share their often life-changing experiences and to express their appreciation for the unstinting care and dedication of hospital staff.
So as huge admirers ourselves, it seemed timely that NDA Packaging Services have been able to make our own contribution to a quiet revolution in improving the wellbeing of NHS staff.
At The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT), a special project was devised to improve staff health and wellbeing, called The Hydration project. Led by Dale Boustead, moving and handling advisor at the Trust, the project sought to use our specially developed reusable water bottles to help ensure all staff remained hydrated at work, whilst complying with strict NHS rules about infection prevention and control.
The importance of good hydration is understood only too well in the NHS, essential to not only staying alive but also for muscle efficiency, skin elasticity, keeping our moods and behaviour balanced and cognitive function. In case we’d forgotten, this of course applies to hospital staff, too. Hospital staff pay so much attention to patient hydration needs, they can sometimes overlook their own.
It’s at times like these that every challenge needs a Dale Boustead.
Dale worked diligently with NDA Packaging Services and the Trust’s My WiSH Charity to help provide reusable water bottles for all staff at WSFT. The bottles were specially tested and approved to meet health and safety requirements, with the final design including a flip-lid preventing the harbouring of bacteria. The project, launched in spring, has proved a great success, with teams across the hospital commenting on how well the reusable bottles are doing.
Dale’s efforts have struck a chord not only at West Suffolk but also across other NHS trusts. To coincide with the NHS birthday celebrations, NDA Packaging worked on a similar arrangement with the health at work team at Addenbrookes Hospital to provide the Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust staff with water bottles. In glorious summer weather, queues quickly formed for staff to get their personalised water bottle. Over the course of a few hours more than nine thousand were distributed, with orders immediately placed for more.
It was a scene over which NHS founder Nye Bevan would have quietly been smiling (partly perhaps because NDA Packaging is a Welsh company, too). Seeing those who have perhaps contributed most to the success of his extraordinary vision, being provided with a small but valuable free token of everyone’s appreciation in return. Long may it continue.