A new unit dedicated to caring for vulnerable elderly patients in Watford General Hospital has been named after a terminally-ill doctor who campaigns for improved care in the NHS.
Dr Kate Granger, who launched a social media campaign called "hello, my name is…", was on hand to officially open the Granger Suite at the Vicarage Road hospital on Friday.
The Yorkshire doctor is living with a rare and aggressive type of cancer and is well known within the NHS for blogging about her illness.
Her blogging and social media efforts are aimed at breaking down the barriers between healthcare professionals and the patients they care for.
Following the opening, Dr Granger said: "I am extremely honoured to have the Granger Suite named after me. Watford is a very special hospital and this new unit will undoubtedly improve the care for older, vulnerable patients."
Members of Dr Granger’s family and friends were at the opening, as well as Samantha Jones, the chief executive of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, trust chair Mahdi Hasan and members of the hospital’s Patients’ Panel.
The new elderly care unit will treat on average around 75 patients every month and consists of two wards. The Bluebell ward will provide care to frail elderly patients who also have dementia while the Winyard ward will be for other elderly patients.
The latter ward is dedicated to the memory of Jessie Winyard, a former chair of the trust’s Patients’ Panel, which represents the views of patients.
Jessie, who passed away in January 2013, was a founding member of the Patients’ Panel, which was established in 2003 and supported the worked to improve the experience for patients.
Joanne Dixon Port, Jessie Winyard’s daughter, said: "Everyone in this world hopes to leave a legacy and I am very proud to stand here today to say Jessie Winyard was not only the best mother and grandmother but her lasting legacy lives beyond my love and admiration. Jessie will be forever remembered by this wonderful honour of having a ward named after her."
Samantha Jones, trust chief executive, added: "I am honoured that Kate and Jessie’s daughter, Joanne, were able to join us today. We are really proud to have our new elderly care facilities named after two such inspirational women, both passionate in their relentless determination to improve the experience patients have in our hospitals and the wider NHS.
"This is the second time that Kate has visited our hospitals. Many of us who were lucky enough to meet her during her first visit in October 2013 were struck by Kate’s humility, honesty and humour, as well as her powerful unavoidable message of "it's the little things" that make the difference to our patients. We remain absolutely committed to this simple, very effective message.
"Jessie’s role as Chair of our Patients’ Panel for 10 years was greatly appreciated by the many patients and staff that came to know and respect her. Jessie’s tireless efforts made a huge contribution to the experience of our patients and I know she is greatly missed."