Happy birthday NHS!!!!! by @shazmcgarva & @Emmcg2

Imagine health care free from harm……


Today is most famously associated with American Independence day but it is also the 66th birthday of the NHS (well ok, its tomorrow actually) and spookily the 66th blog from @dghealth.   So lets reflect on the” good old days” and the stories that make the younger generation take a sharp intake of breath and say OMG/SHUT UP!!!!

1948 when it all began – a year where it was common practice to rub alcohol into healthy skin to prevent pressure ulcers (probably followed by a quick swig out of the bottle from the nurse giving this care!)

1978 –moving on to perhaps a more memorial pastime for those still awaiting their own 66th birthday. Imagine a life pre picolax or moviprep when the alternative was two big tubes, a jug and a 3-5 litre bowel washout!

At the time this wasn’t wrong, it was just how things had always been done. But we are now in a time of innovative, evidence based practice and do not want to hear the well versed “its aye been done like that here”.

ShazEmm2We are staff nurses currently doing a secondment as trainee improvement advisors. We have always had a passion for making things better and we are both well known for being safety geeks!

We are here to link people together, support everyone and show that quality improvement can be simple, fun and very rewarding.


ShazEmm3In April we were lucky enough to attend the International Forum in Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Paris which was an amazing experience.  3000 people from over 75 countries came together to share experiences and learning in quality improvement.  We wore our Scottish flag badges with pride and were quickly given the title of ‘the tartan twins’! Meeting Don Berwick (godfather of Patient Safety) was the highlight!!

One very clear message from Paris was that Scotland are world leaders in healthcare quality improvement. We are the 1st country in the world to adopt a nationwide approach to patient safety and when are we ever 1st at any team sport? (Andy has let us down, our footie team cannot even qualify for the World Cup finals and even @jefface3’s precious Welsh rugby team are mince.)

What made our pride blossom even further was Maureen Bisognano CEO of IHI (Institute of Healthcare Improvement in America) speaking very highly of the NHS Scotland and quoting ”I am coming to Scotland if I get ill”. 

The world is watching so lets stand tall, be proud and give them something to be in awe of.

Those of you who have had the pleasure of our company will know we are passionate about creating a happy, positive environment and want to encourage people to be proactive and not reactive.

Have you ever said?

  • “I can change that?”
  • “We can make this better?”
  • “I have an idea”

and wondered where to start? Then in true Ghostbusters style we are the ones to call…..

So, a few things to think about to help with the quality improvements you want to make

  • Don’t get lost in the jargon
  • Follow you instinct
  • Communicate with your team
  • Take small steps

ShazEmm4Independently we all try our best but together we can get it right for every person, every time. Deming was a quality improvement guru best known for revolutionising the Japanese car industry.   His philosophy is one of cooperation and continual improvement and his famous quote is shown here.

If we all take responsibility and the possibilities are endless. Let’s keep believing and keep fighting as Bevan, the founder of the NHS would want.


Here’s to the next 66 years.

Sharon McGarva and Emma McGauchie are Staff Nurses and Improvement Advisors with the Patient Safety Team at NHS Dumfries and Galloway. Sharron works tuesday and wednesday and Emma works wednesday and  thursday. Call us on 34138 and follow us on twitter @shazmcgarva @emmamcg2





11 thoughts on “Happy birthday NHS!!!!! by @shazmcgarva & @Emmcg2

  1. A very mixed bag. Superb enthusiasm for patient safety improvement and great offer of practical help coupled with a frankly appalling knowledge of rugby.

  2. Happy Bithday NHS…let’s hope we see another 66 years!

    Excellent blog Sharon and Emma – loving the Bevan shout out! Thank you for all your hard work, energy and passion. Key message….We can all make a difference to the patient and staff experience.

    Ps – Ive had great feedback on the pilot noticeboards.

  3. What can I say… very inspirational as usual girls, well done. Heres hoping that our national teams can get further in sporting events in the next few years as we clearly have in relation to Quality of patient and family health care. It is an absolute pleasure having the two of you continuing to keep the staff motivated. Kirstine

  4. fantastic blog ladies very proud to know you both and the NHS can only go upwards with help from staff such as yourselves !

  5. Sounds like you are doing great work. Interesting comment from an American that they would come here if they got ill. I would have thought she would prefer to stay in a country where, for a lot of illnesses, measurable outcomes are better. Also, we are not “the 1st country in the world to adopt a nationwide approach to patient safety”, because we are not a country…yet.

  6. Well done both lets hope your enthusiam and hard work continues to role out across D & G.
    Your continued hard work can only help improve our care delivery and impact on our person centred care, a subject very close to my heart following recent personal experience. Well Done!

  7. Excellent blog girls! Your enthusiasm for improving care and patient safety is very inspiring. Lets hope this inspires us all to make a difference!

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