Despite objections Worthing Hospital wards will still use butterfly symbol

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DESPITE earlier protests from a breast cancer support group, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust will continue to use butterfly symbols on “sensitive” wards.

When the trust announced it was using the symbols on wards where patients were seriously ill or dying, the Worthing Hospital-based Butterflies Breast Cancer Support Group complained that this contradicted the group’s aims of promoting hope for its members after their breast surgery and subsequent treatment.

After a meeting with Butterflies group secretary Helen Stephens, Cathy Stone, the trust’s director of nursing and patient safety, told the Herald: “We introduced the small butterfly symbols because sometimes it is important to signal to staff that there are relatives or carers who are extremely upset, and who have a particular need for peace.

“Our intention was purely to help patients and their carers at the most difficult times for them, and we certainly would never have intended for this to cause upset to anyone else.

“I was really pleased to meet with the group, and I think it was enormously helpful for all of us. We agreed that our use of a butterfly symbol does not in any way detract from the activities of their group and the tremendous work they do on behalf of their members.

“Following the meeting, the Butterflies Breast Care Support Group and awareness of the work they undertake will be on the agenda at our next stake-holders’ forum.”

Mrs Stephens said: “I found it a very useful meeting and we look forward to liaising with the trust in the future.”