Flowery festivities for patients

23 December 2013 | Story by Newsroom

flower handoverCheery blues: Bunches of colourful Christmas flowers were accepted on behalf of GSH by (from left) Dr Bhavna Patel, the GSH CEO, Dr Agatha Krajewski, medical superintendent and Mrs Maureen Ross, senior nursing manager, with VC Dr Max Price (second from right) on hand to deliver the gift.

Santa rode in on a fleet of white trucks for patients of Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH), as loads of colourful hydrangeas were bussed in to lift the mood on 23 December.

The blue and purple 'Christmas flowers', as they are known, were delivered by Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price and were gratefully received by hospital representatives.

Maureen Ross, senior nursing manager at GSH, said the flowers would help cheer up patients and staff alike.

"What is very important is that at this time of the year you have patients that are fairly well but there are some who are extremely ill, been in hospital for so long, and just the colour and the type of flower, because it's synonymous with Christmas - it's actually called the Christmas flower - it just sets the tone in the wards for the patients."

Patients had been looking forward to the flowers this year, said Ross.

"The patients had actually asked on Friday already: 'are there no flowers this year?' Also, to the staff, it's part and parcel of decorating the ward. You can't decorate without flowers. This just completes the whole festive mood.

"We are extremely grateful. Every year for years, I've been here for 44 years, and I cannot remember one year that UCT did not give, so we are extremely appreciative, especially to the pickers, to go and pick all these flowers for the patients, and then to the drivers and to the kindness from UCT."

The tradition, in fact, dates back to 1938, when nurses at GSH collected flowers to decorate wards.

Nowadays, the flowers are collected and delivered by the UCT gardening service, The Green Perspective.

Text: Yusuf Omar. Image: Michael Hammond.

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