If you need additional assistance reading our website please use our accessibility tool.


Brian shares ‘outstanding’ Wansbeck hospital story nationally

Wednesday, 02 July, 2014
Brian shares ‘outstanding’ Wansbeck hospital story nationally

A Northumberland man who has recovered from bowel cancer has helped raise awareness of a national campaign to beat the disease after receiving “outstanding” care at Wansbeck General Hospital.

Brian Hedley, from Morpeth, took part in Beating Bowel Cancer’s patient day at the weekend and shared his story with 250 fellow patients and carers.

Brian, 57, was so impressed with the hospital staff’s “commitment and professionalism” that he got in touch with Patient Opinion, a national organisation which encourages patients to give feedback about health services, which linked up with Beating Bowel Cancer.

His story, and in particular his high praise for specialist nurse Barbara Stephenson, was showcased at the event.

Brian said: “I was honoured to be asked to be part of this event and I’m only too happy to play a part in helping to fight the disease in some way by sharing my story.

“I cannot thank the staff at Wansbeck General Hospital enough – right from the moment I was diagnosed, the level of support, commitment and professionalism from every member of the team has been, and continues to be, outstanding.

“I wanted to let them know what they did for me, so they are encouraged to keep caring for others in the same way.”

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer – claiming a life every half an hour.

Over 41,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year and very 30 minutes someone dies from the disease in the UK – over 16,000 each year. If diagnosed early, over 90% of bowel cancer cases can be treated successfully

Brian was diagnosed with the disease after a colonoscopy procedure at the hospital, run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, in November 2011 and was touched with the way the news was broken to him by Barbara.

He said: “She was compassionate yet totally professional. The time she gave in helping me come to terms with the outcome and to ask questions was hugely beneficial and reassuring. She and the other colorectal nurse specialist have been brilliant from day one. The region is lucky to have such dedication and commitment.”

Following this, he received specialist treatment on Ward 4 at Wansbeck General Hospital, then chemotherapy on the hospital’s oncology unit.

Of the staff, he added: “Every one of them walk into peoples’ lives and make a difference. Despite the difficulties and challenges health service staff face, the team strives to give joined-up care to patients and in my experience this is achieved admirably.”

Barbara said: “When Brian shared his story about the way I’d talked with him had helped him to accept his cancer I felt humbled and proud. I was so glad he took the time to reflect on his experience, it helped us understand what mattered to him.

“It’s really motivating to hear about things that we did well and ultimately it improves the experience for the next patient because I know what really matters.

“As a team we always discuss feedback and work to make things even better.”

Cancer services at Northumbria Healthcare are consistently rated as among the best in England, with teams of specialist consultants and nurses providing care to hundreds of patients every single day both in hospital and in the community across North Tyneside and Northumberland.

Beating Bowel Cancer’s patient day was an informative day for bowel cancer patients and their carers to help them cope with life with, and beyond, bowel cancer. It celebrated patients’ achievements and helped them make a positive impact on their lives with information and advice about coping with the consequences of a bowel cancer diagnosis and treatment.