NHS employee’s incredible tribute to Manchester Hospital’s ‘unsung heroes’

During her busy shift as an infant feeding support worker, Lizzie McLoughlin saw her colleague, Debbie, cleaning the hallway.

The sight of Debbie working so hard to clean the busy maternity ward at North Manchester General Hospital gave Lizzie a wave of inspiration.

So, Lizzie decided to reproduce the view in a painting.

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She took a photo of Debbie and then got to work, using watercolors, pen, ink and watercolor paper.

It only took him a few hours to create this magnificent piece of art.

“I just had an idea, really, that I wanted to celebrate the whole team at North Manchester General Hospital”, Lizzie, from Bury, told MEN

The incredible painting of Lizzie of a colleague mopping the floor at North Manchester General Hospital

“So I had a sudden thought, ooh, I’m going to paint Debbie, who is our amazing, hard-working housekeeper.

“Home service staff are the lifeblood of the NHS.

“I took a picture of Deb and painted it after.

“I paint live, just from real life, from nature.

“But in the hospital, I’m literally at work so I can’t sit there and take out my paintings – I it doesn’t work that way in the NHS! ”

A photo of Lizzie McLoughlin
Infant feeding support worker Lizzie McLoughlin says domestic service staff are the “lifeblood” of the NHS

Having worked at North Manchester General Hospital for 12 years, Lizzie, 46, is keen to use her artistry to celebrate key workers she calls ‘the unsung heroes’ of the NHS.

She raved about the facility for women and children, which provides pregnancy and maternity care, as well as intensive care for small and vulnerable babies.

“Usually what you see in the media are pictures of doctors in intensive care and things like that, she explained.

“But there are other parts.

“You have domestic staff who have to go to these places, catering staff, porters, housekeepers, students, nursery nurses, hearing monitors, service clerks, support workers like me.

A close up image of the painting
A close-up on the painting

“Everyone participates and helps the doctors and midwives.

“We have senior executives who come to services when they need them, just to support families.

“We have babies who look at our faces as we wear masks and face shields, but we always try to make it close and personal for moms.

“There are tears, but also a lot of smiles and laughter.

“I just wanted to celebrate it all, how we all work as a team.”

North Manchester General Hospital has faced its challenges throughout the pandemic, which has motivated Lizzie to do something special for her colleagues.

A photo of North Manchester General Hospital in Crumpsall, North Manchester
North Manchester General Hospital in Crumpsall, North Manchester

Lizzie continued: “Working through the Covid,It was difficult, but everyone really, really worked together as a team.

“I just find it amazing how brilliant everyone has been through it all, supporting families, supporting moms, trying to make things as normal as possible.

“I think there is a perception in the public that Covid is sort of gone.

“But nothing has really changed at the hospital.

“I work in the maternity ward, so we test everyone for Covid when they arrive.

“The challenge, I think, is that people are more afraid now when they come to the hospital to have babies.

“I think they don’t need to be afraid because we are safe and we are clean and we are going to give them the best birth and all the attention and care they need.

“A lot has changed in the NHS over the years – it’s definitely more stretched now.

“But the staff are working very hard and we are always trying to connect with people.”

A photo of North Manchester General Hospital in Crumpsall, North Manchester
North Manchester General Hospital in Crumpsall, North Manchester

Along with her work at the NHS, Lizzie has a “real passion” for art.

The Bury-based NHS worker studied textiles at university and is currently working on a degree in children’s book illustration.

At home, Lizzie has her own studio, where she can be found, sketching and painting – when she has the time.

More paintings of unsung heroes are already planned, according to Lizzie.

“I wish it was an art collection,” she said.

“In my head I have all these people that I want to take pictures of next, like the caterers at the hospital and my colleagues on the infant feeding team.

A photo of a preparatory sketch of a midwife student in Lizzie's workspace, created by Lizzie
A preparatory sketch of a student midwife in Lizzie’s workspace, created by Lizzie

“I literally have people in line now!

“Someone suggested that I do an exhibition at the hospital – I would really like to do that.”

On social media, Lizzie shared her painting of Debbie, where she was inundated with kind messages from people who loved the gesture.

“So many people shared the photo,” Lizzie added.

“People were really touched by this.

“They said things I didn’t expect, like the way I painted Debbie with dignity, and that his work is celebrated for what it is, which is very important and dignified work in a hospital and it’s never really seen like that.

“I don’t think my colleagues at North Manchester General Hospital I really knew art was my past, so they just amazed me with their reactions.

“It was absolutely lovely.”

Lizzie’s art can be viewed on her Instagram page at @lizziemcloughlinart.

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