After my admission in November I mentioned my wanting to write to the paramedics who take care of me on my way to A&E to thank them. I wasn't ever successful in getting the names from the ambulance service of the specific paramedics who came to my rescue, so at Christmas time I decided to send the North East Ambulance Service , as a whole, a Christmas card. In the card I thanked them for the wonderful and vital work that they do, and said that I hoped they knew how appreciated they are, even though they come across many who don't appreciate them. I told them that I am a regular user of the NEAS for my brittle asthma, and thanked them for helping to keep me alive thus far. I knew that it was unlikely that they'd have a peaceful new year, but I wished them one anyway, and said that I hoped they didn't get too many calls from drunks wanting a quick lift home and nothing wrong with them other than the consumption of too much alcohol - i.e. misuse of the service. There were one or two other things in my note to them too, and I can't remember any of my exact wording. I am of the belief that it's as important, if not more important, to acknowledge positive experience as well as the negative. Expressed appreciation can go a long way to bolster flagging morale. Maybe you can look out for opportunities to take this stance too - nothing is too little to be appreciated.
Anyway, much to my surprise, I received a letter in the post last week from the NEAS. This is what it says:
Dear Ms G
Thank you for your Christmas card in which you extend your thanks and appreciation to the staff of the North East Ambulance Service. Thank you for the kind words you say about the ambulance staff, I know they will appreciate your sentiments.
Can I also take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to contact us. It is always very pleasing to receive such appreciations, as I am sure you are aware that we strive to provide the best possible service, however it is particularly reassuring to have that confirmed at first hand from someone with recent experience.
DIRECTOR OF AMBULANCE OPERATIONS
It's ever so nice of them to write back to me, but I also find it quite sad that they obviously get so few letters of appreciation that they feel compelled to write back thanking me for mine ... a thank you for a thank you. Don't you think it says something about society and our taking the ambulance service (and I guess the fire service and police as well) for granted, that when one letter of thanks is sent, the Director of Ambulance Operations makes the time to reciprocate with his own letter of thanks?
So with this in mind, I set you all a task this week: Show your appreciation to someone for something they have done, something they have given you, or a service they provide. All the better if you do this more than once in the week. I'd love to hear what you do for this so feel free to leave a comment.