More than 30,000 people write to staff at Sheffield’s hospitals every year thanking them for the ‘wonderful’ care they have received, it is estimated.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has said how much the messages mean to the trust’s 17,000 staff and volunteers, who treat more than two million patients every year.
The trust, which runs the Northern General, Royal Hallamshire and Weston Park hospitals, and the Jessop Wing maternity unit, does not keep an official record of the number of people writing to thank staff.
But it estimates that the number of cards, letters, emails and other forms of communication expressing people’s gratitude which are directed to its wards and departments annually exceeds 30,000.
That dwarfs the amount of formal complaints received, which totalled 1,558 last year, slightly up from 1,413 in 2017.
Chris Morley, chief nurse at the NHS Foundation Trust, said it was ‘such a lovely gesture’ for staff to receive a ‘simple thank you for the kindness or care they have given’.
“Just recently we had a letter from a gentleman who was in his 80s and wanted to thank staff who 22 years ago had saved his life which meant he had gone on to have an amazing life,” he said.
“We also have really emotional thank you letters from parents who have not been able to have a baby but with the support of Jessop Fertility they have gone on to have sons or daughters or both!
“Of course, when we could have done things better and patients or visitors have had cause to complain, we take this very seriously and look to see where we can make improvements or limit the chances of the same issue recurring.”
The figures do not include thank yous sent to Sheffield Children's Hospital, which is run by a separate trust.
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals cannot disclose the content of letters due to patient confidentiality but it has shared some of the most heartwarming messages of thanks posted publicly via social media in recent weeks.
Laura Gregory wrote: “We have two wonderful children who are only here due to the wonderful staff at Jessops. The love, care and expertise is second to none. Jessops will always hold a special place in our hearts and we cannot thank them enough!”
Josephine Hargreaves wrote: “Today I’ve had my second cataract removed at the wonderful Northern General Eye Centre. The staff are wonderful, they work as one like in a well-oiled machine.
“Nothing’s too much trouble for them. They explain everything that’s going to happen to you and even hold your hand in theatre. Thank you so much to all you wonderful people.”
Peter Maycock commented: “I had a relative at the end of their life on ward Q1. The staff gave so much attention and care to us and the patient. We really appreciated all their efforts.”
Maria Opuni, who was treated at the Hallamshire, said she was ‘completely in awe of the care, kindness and support’ she had received from every member of staff she met.
“In summary, thank you will never be enough. I will be going back to see the wards in a few weeks time to personally thank everyone, but in the meantime, all I can say is... you do an unbelievably hard job in an outstanding way,” she continued.
“You are inspirational to me and I want anyone who played a part in my care to know that I will never forget how you helped and supported me. I would not have survived without your care, attention and kindness.”
Sylvia Brookes commented: “Great staff and care, l have been an inpatient and out patient in the last 12 months and have been treated with care and compassion. I would highly recommend Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.”
Are you the man who thanked Sheffield’s NHS heroes for giving him an extra 22 years of life, or do you have your own special reason to be grateful for the work they do? Email [email protected]