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World Mental Health Day: West Sussex Fire Service pledges support for staff wellbeing

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has signed up to a campaign against mental health stigma.



Yesterday (9 October), West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service signed up to a campaign against mental health stigma.

The fire service has signed up to Mind’s Blue Light pledge, which demonstrates its commitment to challenge mental health stigma and promote the positive wellbeing of West Sussex’s firefighters and employees.

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Gavin Watts, Chief Fire Officer, said:

“I am really pleased to make this pledge to show that we, as a fire service, can make a commitment to our staff that we will support them and their mental health whenever it may be required.

“Working for the emergency services is one of the best jobs in the world but it can also mean working in hugely difficult circumstances where staff are exposed to traumatic situations.

“Signing the pledge reinforces our ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of our staff.”

The pledge was signed by the fire service’s Senior Leadership Team ahead of World Mental Health Day, today (10 October).

Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said:

“I am so pleased that we have been able to support this scheme. Our firefighters work in extremely challenging conditions so it’s really important we work together to provide the best possible support services for them.”

More information about Mind’s Blue Light pledge can be found at

Mind carried out research into the culture of mental health within emergency services and their results showed that 87.5% of personnel had experienced stress and poor mental health while working for blue light services.

Health & Wellbeing

Crawley woman among winning nurses at hospital awards

When the Queen Victoria Hospital asked its patients (past and present) to nominate staff they felt went the extra mile for them during their treatment or appointments, they were overwhelmed with the response.



Pictured: Breast reconstruction nurse specialists Rebecca and Pam pictured receiving their award from Jo Thomas, Director of Nursing and Quality at Queen Victoria Hospital

The ask was for the hospital’s annual patient experience award, which this year generated over 50 nominations. Among the winners were Pam Golton from East Grinstead and Rebecca Spencer from Crawley – breast reconstruction nurse specialists at the hospital.

The duo received an amazing eight nominations from patients who commended Pam and Rebecca’s support during their reconstruction journey following breast cancer Queen Victoria Hospital is a leading centre for reconstructive breast surgery in the South East, performed either at the same time as a mastectomy or after all treatment has been completed. Pam and Rebecca are on hand to help patients throughout their journey and for however long their treatment takes.

Comments from the nominations included:

“All through my journey they have been amazing, going beyond the care and support I have ever experienced in any other NHS trust. They made me realise that I was normal and treated me as a friend.”


“they are kind, caring, good listeners, totally dedicated, professional and give you good honest advice and reassurance if you are worried about anything. Above all they just want to ensure you’re ok. I can honestly say I am so lucky to have been referred to QVH and been given Pam and Rebecca as my breast reconstruction nurse specialists. I really don’t know how I would have coped without them.”

Their win was announced on the night of the annual QVH Staff Awards by a special film one of their patients, Linda, helped create, explaining in her own words why she was driven to nominate the duo. You can watch it now on YouTube:

Commenting on their award Pam said:

“I was really thrilled to find out I had been nominated for an award and it was even more special to find out we had won. Rebecca and I are very much a team and it is lovely to be recognised for what in essence is “just doing our job”, but what a job! Helping ladies navigate what could potentially be the most emotional time of their lives is a privilege and one that we both take very seriously. Having recognition in this way encourages us to continue to strive to improve our practice and continue to make a difference to those we care for”.

Rebecca continued:

“I was so delighted we won the outstanding patient experience award, what a wonderful surprise. It is lovely to hear how we have made a difference to the lives of patients, and humbling to see how much we are appreciated. Patients are the focus of everything we do and it is so lovely to be recognised. To hear that I have helped women through a really difficult time in their lives is really rewarding and it makes me feel very proud.”

Jo Thomas, Director of Nursing and Quality at Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) explains why the awards are so important:

“We hope that every member of staff makes the experience of our patients a positive one. But we know some of our staff are extra special. Pam and Rebecca are both very deserving winners and we’d like to congratulate them both and all of our staff who were nominated – it’s a real testament to the positive impact our staff make when patients take the time to contact us.”

Queen Victoria Hospital would like to thank everyone who took time to nominate members of staff for the award and would encourage patients to continue passing on their feedback through its Patient Advice and Liaison service (PALS) by email at, or its Facebook and Twitter channels.

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