Meet our NHS70 heroes

Team NUH celebrates NHS 70

We’ve got so many members of Team NUH who have stories to tell about their experiences of working in the NHS. As part of our celebrations for NHS 70 we’ve asked people in different jobs and different services across our hospitals to share their memories of the NHS and also to look to the future of how the NHS can develop for the next generation.

Sue Clark, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Receptionist

sue clark NHS70 Sue Clarke, PICU main receptionist celebrates her birthday on the same day as the NHS turns 70.

“I have always been young at heart and suppose I feel quite old but proud of all the same to still be working for the NHS and to be part of its history.

I cannot recall my earliest memory of the NHS, I suppose I just took it for granted that we had an NHS and that the hospital and doctors were there for you whenever you needed them.

I always wanted to be a nurse from a very young age but circumstance at home in the 1960’s never allowed me to achieve my dreams. After working in various roles not within healthcare I was determined to work in a hospital, so applied for several NHS roles as they came up and was eventually successful in 1991 at the age of 42 years old.”

I feel very proud to be part of the NHS’ history and to be celebrating my 70th birthday on the same day as the NHS. I really didn’t think I would stay here all of this time, but I love my job so much.

When I first joined the NHS, 27 years ago I worked in medical records obtaining medical notes for outpatient clinics. Nothing was on a computer, everything was hand written in books and diaries for us to look for medical notes.

It was hard work but everyone pulled together as a team and we worked really well together, I was in that role for 17 years pulling notes firstly for cardiology and then for paediatric clinics until I retired from that role in 2008.

The biggest change for me in my 27 years is when I came to work in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at QMC as a part time receptionist. What a fantastic team we all are and I love being part of it! There are highs and lows on PICU but the support is always where staff, families and patients need it.

I remember my first pay packet and initial salaray was around 6,000 as a clinical preparation clerk from 1991 – 2008. Although I cannot be sure it was a long time ago!

The biggest highlight of my career has definitely been working on PICU for the last decade.

What I have learnt? Is to treat everyone as you would like to be treated yourself, if you were a patient in hospital. Manners and politeness cost nothing and always have your sense of humour because sometimes you will need it!

Three words that best describe my time at NUH and working within the NHS are: Hardwork, friendship, support.

On to the next 70 years… it’s all down to the government but I suppose we can only hope the National Health Service continues for another 70 years.. and more!

Happy birthday NHS!

Rajiv Hasan - Head of Patient Interaction at Nottingham Hospitals Radio

Rajiv hasan Rajiv Hasan is Head of Patient Interaction at Nottingham Hospital Radio he started volunteering at the radio station 18 years ago and will be receiving a Volunteers Long Service Award for his commitment to Nottingham Hospitals throughout his years here.

Nottingham Hospital Radio (NHR) first started in 1974 and we over the decades the teams have changed and radio work has developed leading to more engagement with patients on the wards. Rajiv explained how he got into hospital radio at Nottingham in 2000.

Rajiv Said: “I started as a radio sketch comedian on BBC Radio 5 Live over 20 years ago, my main role back them was as an impressionist and professionally I am a voice over artists, as my work situation changed over the years I started to look at local radio and hospital radio as an avenue to give something back to the community and to also practice what I love, and I’ve been here ever since.”

He added: “I enjoy the volunteering aspect and the variety of my role I’ve always had a passion for radio and volunteering somewhere where you can make the different is  motivating and has helped me develop new skills as a radio host, build confidence and has made me feel part of  the local community. Radio is a pleasurable distraction for patients who are on our hospital wards for long periods of time and I feel honoured to be part of a team who are able to deliver that distraction to our patients.”

The NHR team often go out onto the wards to interact with some of the patients and to get face to face feedback on what patients want to hear on the radio whilst they are on the ward, Rajiv said this is a change from traditional radio and is one of the things he loves most about volunteering in Nottingham.

Rajiv is receiving a long service award at Nottingham Hospital’s Volunteers Long Service Award ceremony this year for his dedication and comitment to volunteering at NUH.

He said: “I feel privilege to be recognised for my years volunteering here, over the years it has provided a lot of pleasure, I have made a lot of friends and I feel that intrinsically volunteering is a good way to keep going and I hope people get as much joy from listening to what we do on the radio as I get presenting.”

Adam Szafranek, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at Trent Cardiac Centre

ADAM Mr Adam Szafranek is Head of Service for Cardiac Surgery at Nottingham University Hospitals, he is based at the Trent Cardiac Centre and is a Consultant Cardiac Surgeon.

The Trent Cardiac Centre enables is the Region specialist cardiac centre and is responsible for carrying out around 700 cardiac surgeries each year.

Adam has worked in the NHS for the last 18 years and has worked at NUH for the last five years.

He always wanted to be a cardiac surgeon having been to medical school and carried out surgical training in UK, Poland and Belgium.

Adam and his team are leading the way with innovations in cardiac surgery at NUH, seeing the patients in recovering after surgery is one -

He said: “My biggest highlight from working in this role has been the thank you letters from patients post-surgery when they are in recovery and hearing how the surgery has changed their lives and there are patients that will stay with me.”

Adam added: “Working in Nottingham has been a great experience, I love where are currently and where we are going. I am very happy with the progression cardiac surgery is making across channels.”

Adam summarised his time at experience working at NUH as fun, people centre and a challenge.”

I think the NHS is the biggest gift from society to society and I hope it stays for another 70+ years.

“The people who work at the Trent Cardiac Centre make the cardiac surgery we do in NUH and care for the patients we have here in Nottingham and from across the East Midlands.”

Christine Dolby - Head of Service for Spiritual and Pastoral Care

christine dolby Christine Dolby, has spent 44 years working within the NHS and this month is retiring as Head of Service for the Spiritual and Pastoral Care Department at Nottingham Hospitals.

Christine has a unique background, having started her career as a nurse in East Bridgford for 30 years before transitioning into chaplaincy for the last decade.

Christine said: “One of my earliest and best memories as a chaplain at Nottingham Hospitals, was when I went to visit a man who had collapsed at home and was found by the postman, the patient’s dog had been trying to stir him with no luck and had scratched his owners face, when the man was finally in hospital he was distraught thinking his dog had died in his absence, however a police man was looking after the dog and  we were able to get the dog brought over to the hospital main entrance and we wheeled the patient down to see him and it was a joyful reunion between man and dog, and from this he the man was out of hospital within a few weeks – seeing his companion changed him and gave him something to live for. This really showed me that it is not just about the treatment but also about making sure patient’s mental health is cared for too.”

Christine spent five years retraining in order to become a chaplain. She did this whilst continuing to work as a nurse and raising a family.

She said: “It wasn’t always the plan to go into a chaplain role however I was a member of my local church and I took a leadership role in this and it sort of grew from there, it took me five years to train part time in the parish and part time in the GP surgery – but it came to the point where I had to make a decision on which way to go and I chose this way.”

Christine described how her experience as a nurse has helped shape pastoral care work in the Chaplaincy at Nottingham Hospitals.

She said: “It was really interesting making the transition as being a nurse I could relate to staff pressures and problems, as well as the patients and their conditions – so the experience has never been a waste.”

She added: “I’d describe my time in the NHS as incredible and a gift.”

Ralph Lindo - Hospital porter

Ralph Lindo image 'Hospital' porter reflects on thirty years in the NHS

Episode six of ‘Hospital’ shows you a rare glimpse of the work of our NUH porters – the team who make sure patients get where they need to be around our hospitals on trolleys and wheelchairs, working closely with staff on our wards, in our operating theatres and in the Emergency Department (ED).

Ralph Lindo has been providing this service for 30 years and has ensured the safe transfer of patients within ED and now he works with the operating theatres teams.

He admits that he was a bit nervous and a bit shy to be filmed as part of ‘Hospital’ but at the end of the day, he was doing what comes naturally and helping patients. Meeting so many patients is what has made working as part of the NHS and at NUH so special to Ralph over the years. 

The one piece of advice he would have given his younger self was to “stick with it”. That’s great advice and as the NHS hits 70 this year, Ralph is still enjoying his work.

Betty Wright - Former Medical Secretary at Nottingham City Hospitals

Betty Wright Betty Wright is 92 years old and she has been reminiscing on her time working as a medical secretary at Nottingham City Hospital back in 1948 - 70 years ago when the National Health Service came into existence.

She said: “My earliest memory before working in the NHS was the medical secretary training, learning Pitman shorthand and the medical language including abbreviations that the clinicians used. Back then we referred to consultants as “Mr” and I worked for two consultants at one time Mr Masterman and Mr Grey who were urology consultants.”

Betty worked for at Nottingham City Hospital from 1948 until 1953, when she left the hospital to marry which was very common back then. She worked in the surgical office with another secretary named Marion, who moved to Nova Scotia in Canada to marry one of the Canadian clinicians who also worked at City Hospital.

Alongside her clerical duties, Betty was often involved in more hands on work. She said: “I remember the matron used to bring in her dog from home to help cheer up the patients, his name was 'Peter the dog', I think and he was a Pekingese. We always had the best time socialising at parties in the doctors’ messes.”

Prior to her time working at the NHS Betty worked in several non-healthcare roles but decided the NHS was the best fit her when starting a family and she thoroughly enjoyed her years.

Betty has fond memories of her years spent at City Hospital and even has a copy of her first medical dictionary which helped her throughout her career in the forties and fifties working in the NHS.