Hospital Worker Named in Prestigious Patient Leaders List
Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is proud to announce that staff member Leigh Kendall has been named amongst 50 people in the Health Service Journal’s (HSJ) first ever Patient Leaders list.
Communications Manager Leigh was nominated for her work on her Hugo’s Legacy campaign. The campaign utilises her personal experiences as well as her professional expertise, with the aim of making a difference for other families who experience birth trauma, a baby being cared for in a neonatal unit, as well those whose baby tragically dies - and for the staff who care for these families.
Leigh’s son Hugo was born in February 2014 when she was just 24 weeks’ pregnant because she had the rare, life-threatening complications preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Leigh and Hugo were cared for at St George’s Hospital, south London. Sadly, despite extensive efforts to save Hugo’s life he died in Leigh’s arms at the age of 35 days.
Since Hugo’s death, Leigh has been writing about her experiences as a patient and as a parent, as well as living with grief on her blog Headspace Perspective. She also established Bright in Mind and Spirit, which focuses on raising health professionals’ awareness of the importance and impact of effective communication. As part of this work, she has given talks at hospitals, and redrafted information for parents at the neonatal unit where Hugo was cared for.
Her citation said: “Leigh shows huge courage, sharing her feelings about baby loss, bereavement, grief, empathy and so much more - and particularly how things can be improved….An NHS communications specialist herself, Leigh is focusing on communications and inappropriate language. Highlighting these areas is having a huge impact on the day-to-day practices of many midwives, obstetricians and others involved with maternity services. Leigh is very forthright, never afraid of challenging the status quo and making people really think, but always in a positive and constructive way.”
Leigh said: “The work of Hugo’s Legacy is a way of turning a tragedy in to a positive for other families, and for the staff caring for them. I have been heartened to see that talking about my experiences is having an impact on services – it is a tribute to my special little boy – his memory lives on through this work.
“I am incredibly proud to have been listed as one of HSJ’s Patient Leaders, and hope this accolade helps spread the word of Hugo’s Legacy still further.”
Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Joe Harrison said: “On behalf of the trust, a huge congratulations to Leigh on this fantastic achievement. We are extremely proud to have a member of our staff recognised for their role in improving and transforming healthcare. I have no doubt she will do a fantastic job – well done Leigh!”