Tag Archives: Kate Granger

The Porter who lights up a hospital

John Jackson, a hospital porter, ensures that every patient that comes into his hospital feels at home. Sometimes, it can be something as small as simply introducing himself but John knows that these small gestures can make such a big impact on a person’s stay.

His personal approach has not gone unnoticed. It’s resulted in many honours and awards for the compassionate care that he provides. It’s always important to recognise that the individuals that go into hospital are people, not patients and John makes this his mission every day.

Sometimes small gestures mean so much. The friendly smile when you feel down, the non-judgemental friend when you need to talk. John works as a night porter and provides both these gifts with ease.

The sun sets behind the rolling hills surrounding Blackburn as we meet John in the cafe at the Royal Blackburn Hospital before his shift.

He’s been based here for 15 years working the majority of his time as a night porter. The job involves a lot of patient and family contact, something John loves. “Whenever I’m moving someone I’ll always talk to them straight away, introducing myself and letting them know what’s going on because it’s those first ten seconds that are the most important.” We move from the cafe up to the third floor and John acknowledges everyone we pass, making sure anyone who gets on the elevator knows exactly where they are going, greeting each individual with a big smile. I asked if he ever has gloomy days when he doesn’t feel like engaging. “No,” he says instantly. “I love my job. I love people, everyone is an individual and I accept them for who they are. I know that no matter how I feel, people in hospital will be feeling worse. They are in here for a reason and if I can make their stay a little better then I will.”

His personal approach and friendly nature is one that has been recognised by many, from people on the street to organisations that have provided him with various honours and awards. John said, “I was on the bus the other day and a chap said, ‘I remember you. You helped my dad when he was in the ‘Royal’. Thanks for that mate.’ Those things mean a lot you know. I’m not a nurse or a surgeon performing life-saving procedures, but when people remember you that’s really nice.” He has also recently been presented the coveted Kate Granger Award for Compassionate Care. This came about for a number of reasons but one important area is his work with the hospital’s Bereavement Steering Committee (B.S.C.).

Moving people who have passed away is a part of the job that he takes very seriously. “When my mum passed away my sister said, ‘She can’t go to Heaven on her own’, so we put a cuddly toy next to her. Now when I take a child down to the mortuary I always like them to have a cuddly toy and I never forget to say, ‘Goodnight, God bless’. It’s important to treat people with dignity and respect at every stage that they are in our care.” This thoughtful nature has seen John take a large role in the B.S.C. His input has helped shape the service, improve the opportunity for counselling and has led to the introduction of bereavement suites for the families. Over the years he has talked to lots of families that have lost loved ones. He says, “I’ve lost people very dear to me over the years and it’s hit me hard, so I treat everyone the same as I’d like to be treated.”

John worked previously as an engineer at Lucas Aerospace for 20 years before making the move to the NHS. He told us that “Being an engineer was fine but the last 15 years working here has flown by. I love it.” The pride he takes in his job and the smiles he carries with him every day is commendable. The little time we spend with him gives us a tiny glimpse of the work he does and the lives he touches. It goes to show that little gestures like a smile can be so important. In a job that can often go unnoticed in a large hospital, John shines like a bright light.

Learn more about the #HealthcareHeroes at: www.healthcare-heroes.com


Kate Granger MBE

Kate Granger wanted to drive discussions concerning compassionate care in the NHS after being told by a junior doctor with no introduction, eye contact or compassion that her cancer had spread. It was this moment that drove her to create the #hellomynameis movement.

This campaign is one that has been visible both online and offline within the healthcare industry. It was only lately that we had the opportunity to learn more about the story behind it, as part of our #HealthcareHeroes campaign.

Although Kate is no longer with us, her vision of compassionate care lives on in more than 400,000 doctors, nurses and receptionists that supported her, she has truly made an impact on the way healthcare works today.

Although her life was cut short, the impact Kate had in the healthcare industry to elevate compassionate care will live on. She started a movement, raised hundreds of thousands of pounds, and was awarded an MBE for her services to the NHS.

The majority of healthcare staff we’ve met on this trip have introduced themselves with: “hello my name is”, which is something we didn’t think anything of. Then we noticed name badges with a branded, “hello my name is” on them. We inquired about these badges and this led us to be told about a lady called Kate Granger, who unfortunately is no longer with us, but her impact on the healthcare profession lives on. Kate Granger, a junior doctor, first became ill on holiday August 2011 in California when her kidneys failed. She was 29 at the time and after returning home for further tests she was hit with the devastating news that she had a rare form of cancer called a desmoplastic small-round-cell tumour of which there was no cure. Kate was determined that cancer wouldn’t stop her from working and she returned to work in January 2012. Her life expectancy was 14 months, but she lived on for nearly five years and in those five years she achieved more than some do in a lifetime.

Following her diagnosis she compiled a bucket list, incorporating amongst others one amazing challenge, which was to raise £250,000 for her local cancer centre. Kate, along with her husband Chris, drove the campaign with great endeavour and they eventually achieved the target just days before Kate passed away in 2016. She also got a tattoo, renewed her wedding vows, appeared on Coronation Street, did a sky dive, wrote a blog to chart her battle with cancer, published two books and took to Twitter to campaign for compassionate care.

It was through Twitter that the “hello my name is” campaign really ignited. Kate wasn’t happy about the lack of introductions she’d had from doctors during her care, especially one from a junior doctor who, with no introduction, no eye contact, no compassion, delivered the staggering news, “Your cancer has spread.” The doctor left the room as quickly as he entered, leaving Kate in deep distress. After voicing her concerns with Chris, he suggested that they did something about it. Kate decided to begin a campaign and after one tweet with the hashtag #hellomynameis the movement was born. She sent Chris home to design the logo and the hashtag quickly caught on.

Within two years it had the support of more than 400,000 doctors, nurses, therapists, receptionists and porters across more than 90 organisations. It also won the support of politicians and celebrities, including Prime Minister Theresa May, Richard Branson, Kylie Minogue and Drew Barrymore. It continues to grow and is starting to embed itself as best practice.

This campaign inspired a plethora of discussions concerning compassionate care and in 2014 NHS England launched the prestigious ‘Kate Granger Awards for Compassionate Care’. The awards have continued every year to date finding and awarding heroes within the NHS. Further recognition for Kate’s work came in 2015 when she was awarded an MBE for her services to the NHS and improving care. Then again in 2016 she received a special achievement award from the BMJ, honouring her for her work on the “hello my name is” campaign.

Kate passed away on her wedding anniversary, Saturday 23rd July 2016. Her husband Chris Pointon announced her death on social media, saying that his beloved and brave 34-year-old wife died on Saturday, “Peacefully, surrounded by loved ones”. Throughout the treatment, which must have been an incredibly difficult time, her blog gave us an insight into her honest and optimistic outlook on life. One of her last blog posts at Christmas time said, “This time of year often leads us to reflect on the year that has just past. For me: 4 cycles of chemo, a national launch of #hellomynameis, an MBE, an Honorary Doctorate, a UK wide campaign tour, a trip to California, a CCT and a new job. Not a bad year really…” Her honesty about her battles with cancer through the blog and her books have helped patients and doctors worldwide. The £250,000+ raised has helped in the fight against cancer. The “hello my name is” campaign continues to grow and although we didn’t get a chance to meet Kate in person, her positive influence can be felt far and wide and her vision on compassionate care is delivered daily by an army of incredible staff working in healthcare.


Find out more about our Healthcare Heroes project at http://www.healthcare-heroes.com


Kate Granger holds her MBE which was awarded to her by the Prince of Wales at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London.

Kate Granger holds her MBE which was awarded to her by the Prince of Wales at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London.