A boss at a London hospital badly hit by the NHS winter meltdown donated his shoes to a patient to enable him to be discharged home – freeing-up a desperately needed bed in the process.
Dave Stacey, 33, director of finance at North Middlesex hospital, was praised by colleagues and politicians for his “amazing compassion”.
Rachel Anticoni, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said that staff at a morning bed availability meeting yesterday were told that a “patient was delayed going home as he had no shoes”. She added: “Our director of finance was in the meeting and donated his shoes. This is what it’s all about #actsofkindness.”
MP Jon Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary, tweeted today: “The amazing compassion of our NHS staff – finance director donating own shoes to a patient so can be discharged.”
Mr Stacey, above, who lives in south-west London, today played down his contribution, saying similar acts were made every day by his colleagues on the frontline. He told the Standard: “It was a really simple gesture and a small and practicable action to help someone out of the hospital.
“All I know is that he needed a pair of shoes. I happened to have a pair of ‘back-up shoes’ here, because of the inclement weather, and made them available.
“I’m slightly taken aback by the reaction [on social media]. In my mind it was a really minor thing to do. If you think about the 3,000 staff who work at North Middlesex, particularly our doctors and nurses on the front-line, they are doing something like this every day. I don’t hear about it, and Twitter doesn’t hear about it, but it happens.”
North Middlesex, in Edmonton, has consistently been the most under pressure hospital in the capital, with its every one of its general and acute beds filled for virtually every day for the last three weeks. Yesterday it had more than 500 patients in its emergency department, and received 130 ambulances.
Hospital managers such as Mr Stacey, who is married with one child and another on the way, have moved onto the front-line to help. Mr Stacey, who joined the trust last February, was helping to move patients on trolleys on New Year’s Day and on Wednesday night.
“I’m really proud of how we have all pulled together,” he said. “It’s been all hands to the pump to make sure our patients are safe.”
He said the size eight shoes were from Matalan and had cost about £10 four years ago. He rarely wore them because they were a bit too big – but hoped they fitted the patient, who had asked for a size nine.