AN inspirational hospital porter has been taking centre stage to share his experiences of the NHS.

Steve Hartman, who works at Basildon Hospital, was chosen to promote the Talent for Care programme, which is a national scheme for NHS staff working in lower paid roles.

Born with a condition which has made him partially deaf, Steve took up a job as a hospital porter six years ago to help fund his teaching degree. He has since gone on to teach sign language and how to cope with deaf awareness to more than 200 colleagues.

As part of the Talent for Care initiative, he has given presentations to hundreds of NHS staff in London, Birmingham and Leeds.

Mr Hartman said: “I noticed the standard of deaf awareness was low, so I approached the trust’s education department to see if there was an opportunity for me to teach sign language and deaf awareness.

“Since then, I have taught about 200 staff and can be called upon to interpret for deaf patients.

“I spoke about my experience of being deaf and how I realised I could help to improve patient care in ways that were outside of my job role. I also shared my thoughts about how staff should be valued, supported and encouraged to think about the skills they can use to improve patient care, no matter what pay band they are on.”

His talks have proved so inspirational, Mr Hartman has now been asked by Health Education England to become a regular speaker for NHS staff across south east England.

The Talent for Care programme is aimed at developing staff who earn less than £22,000 a year. They make up 40 per cent of the NHS workforce.