Gaynor Westray (Credit: @westraygaynor)

Nursing Director opens up about NHS cancer care

A senior hospital manager has told Radio Clatterbridge about her own personal experience of the NHS after being treated three times for cancer.

Gaynor Westray, Director of Nursing at Wirral University Teaching Hospitals, was speaking as part of the 70th birthday celebrations for the health service.

She was first diagnosed 7 years ago and praised healthcare workers for helping her realise that despite being a nurse she wasn’t expected to know everything about her treatment.

“The staff at our hospital, Aintree Hospital and The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre have been nothing but outstanding. They let me understand that I wasn’t a nurse but I was a patient.” – Gaynor Westray

Following her experience, Gaynor says she now makes sure that all staff are kind and look after each other and encourages workers to learn from each others’ experiences.

Gaynor ringing the end of treatment bell in Clatterbridge in October 2017
Gaynor ringing the end of treatment bell in Clatterbridge in October 2017

Listeners heard how she began training to be a nurse in 1984 and worked across both Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge Hospitals.

Gaynor qualifyied as a registered nurse in 1987 before becoming the youngest ward sister in the hospital four years later.

She told listeners how people are now in hospital for much shorter periods of time and many are day patients.

The trust is now working closer than ever with health and social care workers because of the changing care provision created by an ageing population.

Gaynor Westray with ward staff
Gaynor Westray with ward staff

“What makes our organisation special is the staff who work here. I’m really proud to work alongside such a brilliant team.” – Gaynor Westray

Gaynor described the NHS as one of the nation’s treasures and called for provision to be maintained so that everyone continues to be entitled to the same healthcare.