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Care: The gift that is always in season – Jane Cummings

Today is the day when many people will be returning to work after the festive season.

But for nurses, midwives and other care staff, the Christmas and New Year period does not bring a departure from our work. By following the Twitter hashtag #MyNHSChristmas, I was touched to see the many ways in which members of our professions demonstrated compassionate care and went the extra mile for patients and families over Christmas.

For some people, the season will have been far from festive, dealing with difficult news about their health or the loss of a loved one. Circumstances such as these are the times when the 6Cs, the values of our professions, come to the fore, despite the pressures so many of you face every day.

I am full of pride and praise for everything you achieve and recognise how hard people are working.

An NHS-trained nurse  delivered the alternative Christmas message on Channel 4. William Pooley caught and survived Ebola, and has now resumed his work of caring for Ebola patients in Africa. I was moved to hear William talk about the care he received from colleagues round the clock, and his description of his treatment as ‘the best available treatment’. One line from his speech particularly stood out: “When people need help, it is important that it is given”.

That one line sums up the heart of what a privilege and responsibility it is to be a caregiver in the NHS and care services.

2015 will see the continued progress of the Compassion in Practice strategy and the rolling-out of the NHS Five Year Forward View; developments which will bring about transforming opportunities for our professions.

Please keep on using Twitter this year to share the great work you are doing, which I always enjoy reading about and find so encouraging even when challenging.

Also, take a moment to think about how you can put examples forward for the monthly 6Cs Live! ‘6Cs in Action: Celebrating Excellence’ awards.

Thank you for everything you did in 2014, and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.

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