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Proud East Coast staff clock up years of service

NHS staff standing together behind giant letters that spell NHS.

28 June 2024

Staff from York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who between them have clocked up hundreds of years of service, have been honoured at a long service event in Scarborough.

The annual event took place on Thursday 27 June at The Crown Spa Hotel, where Chief Executive, Simon Morritt, paid tribute to the dedicated and caring staff from across the Trust, who he described as the ‘glue of the organisation.’ Several have spent their entire working lives in the National Health Service.

Among those being honoured were nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants, healthcare science associates, occupational therapists, advanced practitioners, clerical workers, managers, medical secretaries, and chefs.

Speaking about the awards, Simon said: “The evening celebrates the service, commitment and skills of staff who’ve shown their loyalty to the Trust over many years.  The fact that so many stay with us through thick and thin and give their lives to the patients we care for, makes for a very special place to work.  Long service is a real cause for celebration. It speaks volumes about staff’s personal values, in that so many have chosen to stay with the Trust for so long, and to inspire newer colleagues to thrive.”

This year, 65 members of staff from Scarborough and the surrounding areas have reached the milestone of 40 or 25 years of dedicated NHS service, clocking over 1,715 years between them. 

Among those being celebrated in the 40-year category were Trust chefs Sharon Ellis, Head Chef, Scarborough, and Ken Brown, Head Chef, Bridlington Hospital, who between them have achieved a staggering 90-plus years of NHS service.

Reflecting on her career, Sharon explained: “The knowledge and experience I gained from working with some great people over the years is priceless, not to mention the fun and laughter we have had along the way.  Knowing that we are playing a part in the patients' stay in hospital is rewarding and I believe that a well-balanced nutritious diet plays a huge part in the patient’s road to recovery.  I thrive in a busy working kitchen and love the buzz of it all.

“When I first started here in 1984 there were only six wards; now there are 16.  The hospital has grown about four times in size, and we are still working in the exact same kitchen as we did then, with the same number of chefs.   A&E was very small, opposite the kitchen where the discharge lounge is now, and the kitchen used to light up like a disco when an ambulance arrived.

“I came to the hospital from college for work experience. The week before I was due to finish my course, I was offered a job. I was so happy, as jobs were hard to come by in the NHS as people hardly ever left and I’m one of them.”

Ken Brown first started work at Claypenny Hospital, Easingwold, back in 1970 as a trainee chef.  He has worked for the NHS for over 54 years.

He said:  "Both my parents had worked for the NHS since the early 50s as well as my auntie and uncles, so you could say that I wanted to carry on the family tradition, which I have enjoyed doing.  The role of chef now is very different as the way food is produced has changed a lot, but it is always nice to know that patients and staff have enjoyed the meals provided. We get good feedback from patients for our food and it’s nice to get compliments but if the meals are enjoyed that is the main thing.

"The best bit of advice I was given was by my first head chef, who said I should treat everyone with respect and never make someone do a job that you are unable to do yourself."

Two other colleagues attending the evening who have 40 years’ service were Orthoptist, Jayne Mills and Jacqueline Peart, Specialist Cardiac Physiologist.

Simon Morritt added: “NHS staff are notoriously modest.  One of the most common phrases I hear when I’m out and about is: ‘I’m just doing my job’.  They may have just been doing their job, but many undoubtedly made a huge difference to countless patients and colleagues.  But it is never just a job.   I would like to say thank you to all our long-serving staff.  And most importantly on behalf of patients and their families that they have helped either directly or indirectly in their time with us, I say a massive thank you.”

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