Afternoon tea served for our longest serving colleagues

The Trust laid on afternoon tea yesterday (3 July) to recognise and celebrate the invaluable contributions of our longest serving colleagues as part of broader celebrations to mark the NHS’ 75th birthday.

The event took place at Ye Olde Bell in Retford and brought together approximately 70 health professionals who have dedicated at least 40 years of their careers to the NHS, primarily at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Bassetlaw Hospital, and Montagu Hospital.

The occasion was a testament to the remarkable commitment and expertise of these extraordinary individuals, whose combined experience exceeds an astonishing 3,000 years. The majority of the honoured guests were nurses, midwives, administrators, and various other healthcare professionals, each having played an integral role in delivering exceptional care and service throughout their careers.

Guests at the event were treated to a delectable selection of sandwiches, scones, and other traditional afternoon tea delights, whilst members of DBTH’s Board of Directors warmly welcomed and expressed gratitude to the longstanding colleagues for their unwavering dedication and commitment to patient care.

Commenting on the event, Zoe Lintin, Chief People Officer, said: “We are immensely grateful for the extraordinary commitment and expertise demonstrated by our longest serving colleagues. This special afternoon tea event provided an opportunity to acknowledge their immense contributions and express our sincerest thanks for the impact they have made throughout their careers. It was a truly fantastic day filled with camaraderie, a superb celebration of their remarkable achievements.”

One of DBTH’s long serving colleagues is Elaine Merrills, Matron for Recruitment, Retention and Pastoral Support within Maternity. The Doncaster resident started her career in 1978 as a 16-year old Nursing Cadet, before qualifying as a nurse in 1983, and subsequently a midwife in 1984.

Since that time, Elaine, like so many of her colleagues, has supported countless patients, as well as helping to deliver thousands of babies throughout her career.

Speaking about her time at the Trust, Elaine said: “When I reflect upon my career, I’m proud of so many things – primarily the fact you’re giving something back to our community. I’ve never worked anywhere else – I belong here and I’ve enjoyed every minute of caring for patients.”

One of the largest providers in the region, DBTH hosts three main hospital sites in Bassetlaw, Doncaster and Mexborough, and annually cares for, on average, 110,000 inpatients, 500,000 outpatients and supports in the delivery of 4,500 babies.

Suzy Brain England OBE, Chair of the Board at DBTH, said: “I echo the sentiments shared by Zoe. The unwavering dedication, resilience, and compassion shown by our colleagues have touched the lives of countless patients, families, and colleagues. The NHS has been built on the shoulders of individuals like these, who have selflessly devoted themselves to the betterment of others and for that, I simply want to say ‘thank you’.

“Your insight, knowledge, and expertise have shaped the very fabric of our organisation, guiding us through both triumphs and challenges. The lessons you have learned and the wisdom you have gained are invaluable treasures that continue to inspire and will continue to do so for many years to come.”

On Wednesday 5 July, the NHS will celebrate its 75th birthday. Treating over a million people a day in England, when it was founded in 1948 the NHS was the first universal health system to be available to all, free at the point of delivery.