Long-serving employees in the East Midlands recall their experiences with NHS 75

Haley Williams

Four East Midlanders discuss their love for the healthcare system as the NHS marks its 75th anniversary.

That includes Hazel Williams, the longest-serving employee at University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL), who has been employed there since 1968.

She was chosen to attend a special service at Westminster Abbey in London to commemorate the institution's anniversary, along with 1,500 other NHS employees from across the nation, royalty, and politicians.

Hazel Williams
Hazel Williams went to a service at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the NHS's founding.

Ms. Williams began her career at Leicester Royal Infirmary as a technologist in 1968. She officially retired in 2013, but she continues to work part-time for the NHS.

The 77-year-old has worked in Leicester's hospitals for 55 years in a variety of capacities, including nuclear medicine and contributing to the creation of a revolutionary cardiac tracer.

She expressed her pride at having contributed to so many groundbreaking projects over the course of her career.

"There was no nuclear medicine when I started," she claimed.

"The scanner arrived shortly after I arrived, and we took it out of its box to examine the manual.

"It was truly revolutionary.

"My job has been wonderful so far. If I didn't adore it, I wouldn't be there today. ".

The invitation to the celebrations, Ms. Williams said, left her "amazed and shocked," adding, "I thought it was a prank.

"I feel incredibly honored and fortunate.

I was a little shocked because I've been a UHL member the longest. That is "a massive achievement," everyone agrees. ".

The NHS, she continued, was "fantastic.". and is dependent on people, collaboration, kindness, and caring, all of which we have in abundance.

Rita Archer
In her 50 years of volunteering at Royal Derby Hospital, Rita Archer claimed to have "enjoyed every moment.".

In 1973, Rita Archer began volunteering at Royal Derby Hospital in addition to her full-time position as a teaching assistant at a nearby school.

Organizing a jumble sale was her first assignment, and she recalled selling the organizer's coat inadvertently. She added that he "took it very well.".

The 80-year-old Stenson Fields resident works at the hospital shops and claims that taking a home nursing course "spurred me on" to continue volunteering.

She claimed that since she enjoys interacting with people, volunteering her time to the health service would be "really missed.".

She stated, "I like to feel that we are very important to people for various reasons.

"Not everyone has regular visitors when they are sick on the ward, but we do have a trolley service that gives them someone to talk to. ".

Over the past 50 years, according to Mrs. Archer, she has "enjoyed every moment of it.".

It's been great, she gushed. "I've gained more than I've given to the hospital, for sure. ".

She added that there were 135 volunteers at the local hospital and hoped that more people would consider contributing a few hours each week.

Before the Queen's Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham was constructed in the 1970s, Helen Jacques began her career with the NHS when she was just 16 years old.

Working for the NHS back then was described as "very strict, but very wonderful" by the speaker.

She declared that the eye hospital was the most wonderful place she had ever worked.

"I recall being told, "This is your future girl," when I was 17 and asked to look over to the Queen's as it was being built. '".

The 69-year-old, who has been in the service for 53 years, said there was a curfew for when they had to return to their accommodations during their nurse training.

The door was locked if you weren't inside by 10 o'clock, she explained. "So we devised a variety of strategies to break into the nurse's house.

"However, if it didn't work, we would go up to the police station, where they would let us spend the night in the cells. ".

Sue Clark
Despite having retired, Sue Clark said she was compelled to come back because she "missed helping people and the team so much.".

Sue Clark works as a ward receptionist at the Queen's Medical Center in Nottingham's Children's Intensive Care unit.

She retired at age 60, the 75-year-old claimed, but she chose to come back because she "missed helping people and the team so much.".

When a child enters intensive care, she said, "parents are very distressed.".

I made a grandmother a cup of tea and gave her a hug last week. It really does matter a lot. ".

The hospital is "like a second home," according to Ms. Clark, who has worked for the NHS for 32 years. She described the staff as "one big family.".

No matter what position you hold at the QMC, she declared, "you are a member of a team.".

"We always help one another, which makes everything worthwhile. ".

Although the hospital setting could be "incredibly stressful at times," she claimed that over time, the care and medical treatments have "gotten better.".

It's the best thing the nation can have, and we help people, she continued.

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