A group of Portsmouth High School Year 11 biology students spent the morning spreading some Christmas cheer at Queen Alexandra’s dialysis unit, as well as learning about the treatment for the patients suffering from kidney diseases.
The girls sang Christmas carols and songs in the ward and then spoke to some of the patients about their treatment.
Mrs Caroline Morgan, biology teacher at Portsmouth High School, said:
‘Whilst teaching the topic of kidney function, for GCSE biology, the girls realised that the life of a dialysis patient must be very hard. Patients have to attend hospital every other day and be on a dialysis machine for four to five hours at a time for the rest of their lives just to stay alive, even throughout the Christmas period. The girls wanted to give the patients some pre-Christmas joy whilst they were on dialysis.’
Frankie McBride, 15, sang the solo to Once in Royal David’s City at the start of the entertainment:
‘It is wonderful,’ she said, ‘to be able to spread some Christmas happiness. These patients are in for long periods of time and it is great that we have had the opportunity to come and visit them and, at the same time, learn about their treatment.’
Imogen Roberts, 15, added:
‘It is an entirely different perspective than being in the classroom. We have learned how the machines work and how much time is taken up during the day for the patients. It is really important to see the process in real life and be able to empathise with the patients.’
Kerry Downs, one of the patients in the ward, said:
‘I am in here three times a week for four hours and today is my forty-sixth time. It has been lovely having the singing and I am so glad the girls came up here.’
Sister Sharon Higgins from the unit added:
‘We have one hundred and fifty patients through the ward each week and on average they are here for about four hours. The visit from Portsmouth High School has been lovely to break up the day, not only for the patients but for the staff as well and I hope the girls have learned a little more about the process.’