Carry on matron... and put TLC back in NHS

Article date: 20 August 2001

Carry On matron Hattie Jaques may be just what the doctorordered for the struggling NHS, a new study shows today.

Britons say the battleaxe with a firm bedside manner, asportrayed by Hattie Jaques in the Carry On films, epitomizes whatthe NHS needs now that the Government has signalled the return ofmatrons to UK hospital wards.

And what men want is not the sexy nurse or delectable doc– they would rather see the likes of Hattie Jaques checkingtheir blood pressure than have Holby City’s blonde bombshellLisa Faulkner, cheeky Barbara Windsor or Nurse Betty star ReneeZellweger to send it soaring.

The traditional Hattie Jaques was voted by men as the personthey would most like to see running our hospital wards, pushingHolby’s Lisa into third place after ER’s MarkGreene.

Women favoured a more modern approach - choosing Dr Greene– played by Anthony Edwards – as their favouredhospital matron, followed by sensitive Dr Truman fromEastEnders.

But what both sexes agree on in The ‘Modern Matrons’study by Norwich Union Healthcare, is that the 21st CenturyHospital matron should be focused on patient care rather thancost-cutting.

Men and women both feel that the most important qualities neededfor running one of today’s over-worked NHS hospital wards arepatience and kindness. Being firm with patients comes in thirdwhile budgeting skills were rated important by fewer than one in 10of the 500 people asked.

Doug Wright of Norwich Union Healthcare said: “Ourresearch shows that people still feel very positively about therole of the traditional matron. Matrons have always been looked upto and respected, and although sometimes perceived as figures fromthe past, they may well have an important role to play in the NHSof tomorrow.

“What is very encouraging is that people want the newbreed of matrons to be focused on nursing rather than gettinginvolved in the money side of running a ward. There is a feelingthat firm but fair matrons are just what the doctor ordered todrive up patient care in the NHS.”

Notes to editors

  • Norwich Union Healthcare Norwich Union commissioned TaylorNelson Sofres to conduct an independent survey of 500 adults. Thesurvey was carried out in July 2001.
  • Norwich Union Healthcare was founded in 1990 as the healthcarearm of Norwich Union and now provides a range of income protectionand private medical insurance products to around 750,000customers. It is one of the largest providers of income protectionand private medical insurance in the UK.
  • CGU and Norwich Union merged on 30 May 2000 to create CGNU plc- the world’s 6th largest insurer, the UK's largestinsurance group and one of the top-five life insurers in Europewith substantial positions in other markets around the world.
  • CGNU's principal business activities are long-term savings,general insurance and asset management with worldwide premiumincome and retail investment sales of £26 billion and assets undermanagement of more than £200 billion.
  • The combined life and pensions, general insurance and retailfund businesses in the UK operate under the Norwich Union brand,while the institutional business operates under the Morley FundManagement brand.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on theinternet on this site
  • A selection of images are available from the CGNU Newscastsite at

For further media information, contact Anja Kueppers or MattBuchanan at QBO on 020 7379 0304 or Louise Zucchi at Norwich UnionPress Office on 08703 66 68 60

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