The importance of hope in healthcare

MCARDLE PaulAs this is my first time writing in vital signs I ought to introduce myself.

My name is Paul McArdle and I am a Consultant Maxillofacial surgeon and Assistant Medical Director for Quality and Safety.

Over the last week I have observed lots of different staff working and carrying out their day-to-day duties under lots of pressure. Despite that pressure, I observed something that I believe to be really important, but which we talk about infrequently; love and hope.

Now don’t be fooled and stop reading, these are not soft or fluffy words. I appreciate they are not perceived as macho or particularly scientific. However they are important, even critical words, which underpin the care we give.

The great news is that I saw these delivered in bucket loads this week, not just by our nursing and medical staff, but also by those who work more behind the scenes.

For example I’ve seen Serco staff give hope by taking the lunch order for a patient really well, meaning the patient knew exactly what they could have and have something to look forward to; a cleaner doing a really thorough job helping a patient see their risk of infection being reduced; the medical and nursing staff showing real compassion and making light of difficult situations in a kind and caring way with patients; well co-ordinated appointments; kind and capable reception staff and jovial and efficient portering staff.

We must never forget that it’s all of these things that bring hope to our patients. The hope of their lives getting a bit better.

Personally, being able to offer hope is one of the best parts of my job but I recognise that it is all of our teams working together that makes that hope real. No matter if we are a performance analyst, a prepper and car park attendant or a finance director, we can all make a difference to people’s lives for the better.

Of course not all of our patients can look forward to getting better, but we can still make a difference. That is where the love word comes in. Delivering compassionate care, respecting patients dignity, being gentle and supportive and listening when it is needed and ensuring a hospital visit is as easy as possible. All these things offer hope even when things seem to be at their worst.

QualityAcademyLogoSo hats off to you. All you great staff that deliver hope and love every day through your skills, providing great care and great medicine. Thank you for making a difference. We have much to be proud of.

If you are interested in making more of a difference, and would like some support, why not get in touch with me at or with one of our team at the Quality Academy. We want to support great ideas to improve care for our patients.

Thank you,

Paul McArdle

Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon and Assistant Medical Director for Quality and Safety

Take a tour of the grounds

Image of Emma Parsons, our Head Groundskeeper

Join our Head Groundskeeper Emma Parsons for a tour around the Hospital grounds

Come and join our Head Groundskeeper Emma Parsons at the Open Day on Saturday for a unique look around the grounds of Derriford Hospital.

See what it takes to maintain the 54 acres of parkland, the flora, the fauna, and the wildlife that call Derriford Hospital home!

See our state of the art equipment, learn what makes the site so special, and maybe learn a few trade secrets!

Image of Little Haven

A tranquil space within the grounds of Derriford Hospital, known as Little Haven, for people to go to remember babies and children who have passed away.

Want to find out more?
Then book onto one of our tours, via the free Open Day app. Each tour lasts approximately 40 minutes and they are held at the following times:

  • 11.00
  • 12.00
  • 13.00

The groups are a maximum of seven, so we advise you download our free Open Day app and reserve a space in advance to avoid disappointment (there will be a very limited number of spaces available on the day). The meeting point for the tours will be the main entrance of Derriford Hospital, around five minutes before the tour begins.


Download our free Open Day app here

It’s all about Blood!

Image of a Pathology Information Stand

We’ve got lots of interactive activities for kids and adults!

Have you ever wondered what happens to your blood samples and the mysterious processes that happen within our combined laboratories?

Well, we would be delighted to be able to show you and welcome you into the world of Pathology at the Open Day this Saturday! You will find us in Main Outpatients (if you head for the big white marquee outside the building, then you will be signposted into Main Outpatients from there).

Do you fancy trying your skills at taking a blood sample?
Well look no further as we will have the training devices available for you to have a try!  You can then discover how we manage the thousands of samples we receive daily in our laboratories.

You can watch a virtual tour of the laboratory and even have a look at some real blood cells and tissues under the microscopes (perfect for the budding scientists out there).

There will be further advice on the many career paths available within Pathology at our specialist careers talk at 13:50 in the Discovery Library on level 5. All the slots available within the app have now been booked, but we will be holding back a few extras spaces on the day for non-app users,so if you are interested in careers in Pathology, then come down and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Do you fancy being a life saver?
Blood Donors are very special people and heroes to many patients that need blood. We will be able to show you what it takes to be a Blood Donor and demonstrate the value of donated blood.

We will show you how we care for the donated blood and the lengths in which we go to make sure that blood transfusions are as safe as possible.

You will have the opportunity to play with our touch-screen Blood Fridge Kiosk that keeps our donated blood safe and secure.

We will also show you how to keep your own blood cells as healthy as possible and learn about the importance of iron in your diet.

Please come and visit us within the Main Outpatients clinics and discover some of the many things that we do. We can’t wait to see you all there.

Caroline Lowe
Blood Bank


Download our free Open Day app here

How do we look after information?

Visit the Information Governance stand at the Open Day to find out how we manage your personal information.

We are based in the Discovery Library on level 5, which is the same location as the Careers Fair (if you enter the Maternity Entrance, take the corridor to your left-hand side and follow signage for the Careers Fair).

In order to provide you with the appropriate treatment the hospital will hold some personal information about you. Personal information is any information that can identify you.

This information will be used for other reasons as well as your ongoing care (e.g. as a tool to aid improvement of service). This information may be shared with colleagues in other organisations where your care may continue (e.g. your GP).

If you would like to know more about what we do with your information, come and meet the Information Governance Team and find out about our role in the Trust.

During the Open Day, the Information Governance Team will be on hand to answer any queries you may have. We will also have patient information leaflets available, as well as an interactive game.

Leanne Elliott
Information Governance


Download our free Open Day app here

What is Pastoral & Spiritual Care all about?

Image of a volunteer visiting a patient

You will find pastoral care in all areas of a hospital

Life can be a roller-coaster at times, with lots of ups and downs. An accident or an illness can knock us and leave us feeling wobbly. At times like this it helps to have someone who will…

  • Accept you just as you are and listen to you
  • Help you make sense of what is going on
  • Help you to find your way to deal with it

The team from Pastoral & Spiritual Care are here for everyone – patients, visitors and staff… to listen to you and support you. As you work through issues raised by a hospital stay. We offer:

  • Pastoral Care – if an accident, illness or difficult situation leaves you shaken, then we are here to listen
  • Spiritual Care – we can help you to make sense of what is going on, and walk with you as you deal with it
  • Religious Care – our role is to help you to connect with whatever brings you hope, peace and joy
Image of our Pastoral and Spiritual Care Team

Our Pastoral and Spiritual Care Team

You will find us around and about throughout the Open Day, but especially in the marquee outside of the building, and also in the chapel on level 7.

In the marquee, we will have a team available to talk and listen to you. We can tell you more about what we do and our role in supporting patients, visitors and staff and we can also tell you about volunteering opportunities if you would like to become a part of our pastoral team or our weekend volunteer team.

You can also play Giant Jenga to help you think about what goes missing when someone comes into hospital.

In the chapel on level 7 there will be some quiet space for you to reflect. We have some live music during the Open Day, and there is an opportunity to simply sit and think or pray. For the children we have a quiz and our team will be available to talk with you.

Book of Remembrance and Thanksgiving
We will have available a book of remembrance and thanksgiving. Here you can write your own personal remembrance of someone who has been treated or has perhaps died here at Derriford Hospital. You can also record your own thanksgiving message for successful treatment or perhaps the care offered here. This special book will continue to be on display in the chapel in the future.

We look forward to meeting you throughout the day and at any other time as well.

Paul Snell
Lead Chaplain
Pastoral and Spiritual Care


Download our free Open Day app here

Step inside the Mustard Tree

Image of the Mustard Tree

Welcome to the Mustard Tree Macmillan Support Centre

Call into the Mustard Tree where we will be dispelling some Cancer Myths with our “Blockbuster game”, explaining how to spot the early signs of Cancer and you can meet our Cancer Nurse Specialists and Mustard Tree Support workers.

Do you know how to check for testicular cancer, breast cancer, or the common signs of Skin Cancer? We have lots of health promotional leaflets and interactive “body parts” for you to practice with.

“Pin the organ to the body” – do you know where they are?

Look out for our Cancer Nurse Specialists with “Ask the Specialist” badges – maybe you have a question for them?

Learn how eating and keeping active can benefit you before, during and after cancer treatment.  Meet with patients who will share their experience with you, find out about all the support that is available for patients and carers from the Mustard Tree, including our ‘Look Good Feel Good’ Team from Boots and Browns “More Hair Now” who will have lots of advice to offer.

Do you know how we assess patients? Fancy a nice relaxing hand massage? Pop down to the Mustard Tree…we are looking forward to meeting you all!

Shirley Harker
Cancer Services


Download our free Open Day app here

Come and see inside a Radiotherapy Bunker!


As part of our Open Day on Saturday 19 March, the Radiotherapy Department will be opening the doors to our linear accelerators, demonstrating how they are capable of delivering precise, technical, radiation treatment to patients with cancer.

Alongside our Healthcare Scientist colleagues from Clinical and Radiation Physics and in celebration of Healthcare Science Week, we will also have 3D simulations of the machines so you can see how it works inside the patient, demonstrate our immobilisation devices (such as head shells) and explain why they are used. Radiotherapy relies heavily on CT imaging to identify internal structures, come and see what you recognise or have a go at using a treatment planning system to understand how we treat patients and minimise side effects.

Our Brachytherapy (internal treatment) theatre suite will also be opening its doors to demonstrate equipment and showcase some of the excellent care patients receive.

We are all very keen to participate in the open day to raise public awareness of radiotherapy and its key role in the fight against cancer and staff will be on hand to offer general advice and information on Radiotherapy for cancer treatment.

By engaging in the hospitals open day we hope to be able to alleviate any fears about the treatment. This will help people to have a better understanding of radiotherapy, if they themselves or friends/family need to receive treatment.

Getting to us:
On the day, we advise that you follow signage to the Mustard Tree Macmillan Centre and you will be able to reach Radiotherapy from within the Mustard Tree. You can either follow signage to level 3 and cross the courtyard between REI and Mustard Tree, or if you are outside the main entrance, you can follow the path around the outside of the building. A map is available within our programme (copies will be given out on the day)

Careers Talks:
If you have an interest in a career as a Healthcare Scientist, my colleagues will be giving specialist careers talks at the Careers Fair. The talks take place at 11.30 and 11.45 in the Discovery Library on level 5, but we advise you use the free Open Day app to reserve your place in advance, as space might become limited on the day.

Come and see what happens behind closed doors! We look forward to seeing you on Saturday 19 March.

Helen Churchward
Radiotherapy Manager


Download our free Open Day app here