Two very moving photographs taken at Bath’s RUH will be featured in a prestigious national exhibition, celebrating the 75th birthday of the NHS.
As the service reaches this historic milestone on Wednesday 5 July, staff across the country were invited to submit photographs that capture what makes our health service so special.
RUH Family Liaison Facilitator Mims Yacomeni and Biomedical Scientist Jenny Potasznik were chosen to be included in the gallery, on display at Fujifilm’s House of Photography at Covent Garden in London during July and August.
Mims entered a moving photograph of the entwined hands of a husband and wife, who were reunited when they were being cared for at the RUH on different wards.
Mims said: “I had arranged some phone calls between the man and his wife, and I knew it would mean a lot to him to see her. They have been together over 60 years.
“I took him in a wheelchair and he was overcome with emotion when they were reunited. It was a really special moment, and I asked if I could take a photo of their hands.
“I really believe that being in touch with loved ones helps with people’s wellbeing and recovery – it’s a privilege to have that as part of my role.
“We do lots of other things to support people while they’re in hospital too – such as providing activity kits, or sourcing audiobooks or music in response to a person’s individual interests.
“It might be seen as non-essential but to the RUH it’s so important – it makes a huge difference.
“I’m very proud to have my photograph shortlisted – I’m no photographer, but I think the emotion of that moment shines through.”
Jenny’s picture represents the sharing and learning that takes place between colleagues in the labs, where work may go unseen but is essential to care.
Jenny joined the RUH three years ago after studying biomedical science. She started as a medical laboratory assistant, then she moved to a trainee biomedical scientist post, and has now qualified.
She said: “I really wanted to capture how supportive and collaborative working in the labs can be – I’ve definitely experienced that myself.
“My picture is an honest reflection of everyday life in the labs. We’re always listening and learning from the people we work with. There’s no hierarchy.
“Most people don’t get to see the labs but we’re always there, and without us nothing will run. That’s what inspired me to choose this career path.
“Photography is my main hobby outside of work and I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 13. My usual photography topic is wildlife, especially birds. But being chosen in this competition has inspired me to explore more photography in science too.”
Other activities happening at the RUH to celebrate the 75th birthday include history displays, music, the chance to sample food that would have been popular in 1948, a reflective service from the hospital’s Spiritual Care team, and themed art workshops for patients. Five members of staff will also be attending the service at Westminster Abbey.
Chief Executive Cara Charles-Barks said: “The NHS is so special and it’s a privilege for the RUH to be part of the celebrations that will be happening right across the country.
“Science, technology and the way we provide care have changed enormously over the past 75 years. Our recent investment in a surgical robot is a great example of this. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is that it’s the people that matter – those we work with, those we care for, and those in our community.
“I’d like to take the opportunity to say thank to everyone, past and present, who has made the RUH what it is today, and who will keep working alongside and supporting us as we look to our really exciting future.”
Bath’s MP, Wera Hobhouse, joined in celebrating the Service and all it has done for her constituents and the country as a whole.
Mrs Hobhouse praised the staff at the Royal United Hospital and within all NHS services in Bath for the life-changing care that they provide for their patients.
“I am proud to wish a happy birthday to the beating heart of our nation, the NHS.
“The creation of the National Health Service is one of the UK Parliament’s greatest achievements. It is a privilege to represent a constituency that has such fantastic, hardworking NHS staff within it.
“However, as we celebrate this momentous occasion, it is important to remember that we cannot take the NHS for granted, and we must protect it.
“This day should renew our vigour to defend this vital institution that has touched so many lives.”