Walsall’s Mayor has praised staff for their “tremendous support for patients and amazing work” on a visit to Walsall Palliative Care Centre.
Councillor Rose Martin has selected Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s charity Well Wishers as one of her three chosen charities and she is keen to do all she can to promote the work of the organisation during her year in office.
Well Wishers supports the hospice in any way it can, including helping patients receiving end of life care to make special memories with their loved ones through its partnership with Goscote Hospice.
On her extensive walkabout during which she chatted to multiple members of staff and patients for several hours, the Mayor was joined by Sally Killian, General Manager, Sindy Dhallu, Professional Lead/Care Group Manager – Palliative, Deb Jones, Palliative and End of Life Senior Sister/Ward Manager, and Well Wishers Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley.
“I thank you all for your excellent hard work – you offer tremendous support for patients,” said Councillor Martin. “Throughout my time as a councillor I have looked to improve the health and wellbeing of the residents of Walsall, along with the Manor Hospital, this is a fantastic service.
“You’re all doing amazing work for the people of Walsall and it’s wonderful to see the charity’s money put to such good use.”
Deb said: “We feel proud and privileged to have the support of the Mayor during her year in office. We feel we have progressed our service year on year here and we’re delighted she can see for herself the fantastic service and care we provide for our patients.”
Retired businessman Rob Plimmer, 70, from Pelsall, is being treated for pancreatic cancer and met the Mayor with eldest son Neil and Sarah, wife of his younger son Nick.
Rob said: “It was wonderful to meet her – she’s a lovely lady and she’s really lifted my spirits. I think it’s great that she’s taken time out to visit patients.”
Christine Bell, 67, a retired housewife and mum of three from Wednesbury, has multiple types of cancer and was with her husband Peter and daughter Jessica Talbot.
She said: “I thank the Mayor for coming to see us and it’s good to see she’s trying to help the community.”
Dr Ed McDermott, working with colleagues Rachel Shuttleworth, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, and Pharmacist Mandeep Jagpal, told the Mayor how patients’ beds can be taken outside so they can have a change of scene and enjoy the sunshine during the current warm weather. Well Wishers has recently supported the Hospice to source some large parasols to go over the beds.
Councillor Martin told Clinical Support Workers Iain Vowles and Jackie Morris: “What a lovely hospital hospice you have and everyone seems to be so well looked after. You should be very proud,” before introducing herself to Vanessa Griffin, Admissions/Discharge Co-ordinator, who conducts all the patient arrangements at the Centre.
The Mayor then spent time in Fair Oaks Day Hospice – also part of the Palliative Care Centre – and spoke to Julie Nicholas, Day Hospice Senior Staff Nurse, who told the Mayor how the nurse-led facility engages all patients in detailed discussions to see what can be done for them.
They have access to a consultant and a psychiatrist, lymphoedema (swelling in the limbs) treatment as well as holistic treatments, if appropriate. Massage and reflexology are among the complimentary therapies on site offered to patients to help relieve symptoms of their conditions.
At Fair Oaks around 12 patients at a time attend day sessions once a week where they can talk over their concerns with staff and fellow patients in similar situations.
They can also access treatment, as well as enjoy drinks, snacks and lunch and through funding from Well Wishers, enjoy special events and celebrations, including entertainment. The Mayor chatted with all of them, enjoying tea and a slice of toast.
After beating breast cancer in 2017, Yvonne Boulter, from Coalpool, was found to have cancer to her spine in 2019 and since then she has had four tumours in her bones.
She said: “I’ve just celebrated my 50th birthday and I hope to live to be 100! I’m pleased to meet the Mayor because she gets to see what great work is done here for us as patients.”
Karen Griffin, 59 from Willenhall, has terminal bowel cancer and was renewing acquaintances with the Mayor, having served on committees together during her 42 years at Walsall Council.
“She is a kind and lovely lady,” said mum of one Karen, who retired early in January after four years of ill health. Referring to the Day Hospice, Karen said: “It’s really great to have access to such knowledgeable and experienced staff who listen to you and take whatever you say very seriously.
“I stay here all day and they help me a lot. Being here has solidified what I want to do when I die and I want to die here. The staff make you feel very peaceful and comfortable.”
Jane Painter, Palliative Nurse Associate, said: “Patients get an awful lot of out coming here. Once they get past why they’re here, it’s a happy place.”
If anyone is interested in supporting the Hospice, please email Georgie Westley at firstname.lastname@example.org