Trust supports nationwide campaign seeking to improve access to hospital wards for carers

The Trust is supporting John’s Campaign, a nationwide initiative seeking improved access to hospital wards for carers.

John’s Campaign was founded in 2014 after the death of Dr John Gerrard, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in his mid-70s. During a five-week stay in his local hospital, visits from his family were restricted severely and John’s condition deteriorated as a result.

To help support the campaign, the teams on wards 9A, 9B and Ashwell at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage reviewed their visiting hours and decided to change them to provide much greater flexibility. From 7 November 2016, the new visiting hours will be 9am to 9pm, increasing from three to 12 hours per day.

John's Campaign

From left to right: Jodie Deards (Trust carers lead), Julia Jones (co-founder of John’s Campaign), Liz Lees (director of nursing), Cecile Gascon (9B senior sister) and Deepa Austin (9A, 9B and Ashwell ward matron)

One of the co-founders of John’s Campaign, Julia Jones, said:

“As a carer myself, I know how important it is to allow carers more time with their loved ones in hospital. By supporting John’s Campaign, the Trust is showing that it recognises the importance of carers and their vital role in looking after vulnerable patients. Increasing the visiting hours will help provide patients comfort and reassurance during their stay.”

The Trust’s carers lead, Jodie Deards, said:

“Supporting John’s Campaign is beneficial for both our patients and the Trust. Not only does it mean that patients have extra support from their carers during their stay in hospital, but it also allows our carers support team to identify carers and provide them with extra support if they need it.

“We are still looking for volunteers to join our carers support team. If you think you can make a difference and would like to join us, we’d love to hear from you. You can call us (01438 284760) or email ( for an application pack.”