NURSING chief Alison Tong is going ‘back to the floor’ as part of an effort to make things better.

Mrs Tong, the director nursing and quality at Dorset County Hospital, has spoken of the pledge she has made for NHS Change Day.

It is a campaign which encourages people who care about the future of the NHS to make a positive change.

Mrs Tong has pledged to undertake a meal service every week on a different ward at the Dorchester hospital.

Although pledges usually centre around NHS Change Day on March 3, Mrs Tong has been pushing the trolley round since February and plans to keep on doing it. Sometimes she has come in on her day off to help out.

Mrs Tong, who is usually office based, stresses the importance of ditching smart attire she wears as a member of the senior management team and instead putting on a nurse’s uniform.

She said: “By working alongside staff in uniform you very quickly become invisible.

“Staff treat you as part of the team and patients will talk to you as a nurse as opposed to a director of nursing so I’m getting to see it like it is.

“It’s a really powerful way of knowing what’s going on in the hospital.

“I’m trying to do it at different times of the day to get different perspectives.”

Mrs Tong says the experience of going ‘under cover and back to the floor’ has demonstrated some areas need looking at including the ‘protected mealtimes’ policy which she said has ‘lost its edge’.

However she said most of the feedback is very positive, reflecting the work of the ‘brilliant’ nursing teams and ‘fantastic’ catering staff.

She added: “I’m not doing it to catch people out.

“I’m very happy with what I’ve seen so far and I’m more reassured.”