Our team behind the scenes...featured in the latest edition of Neuromatters

Date: 19 June 2024

At The Walton Centre, hundreds of non-medical staff help to keep the hospital running smoothly. We meet four colleagues whose work behind the scenes has a huge impact on our patients.

Steve Holland, Head of Estates

The Estates Team deals with everything – from the big to the small – to keep the hospital functioning and patient activity going. Every day brings its challenges, a scanner not working, a burst water pipe, a door lock not working, but this is a job I love. I’ve been at the Trust for 15 years and seen a lot of change; the development of the Sid Watkins Building, the installation of the iMRI scanner and the replacement of the entire heating system last year. The next big project is the Theatres refurbishment which will be very complex, and new to me and the team.

We have to balance strategic planning for new work with ongoing scheduled maintenance and reactive jobs – sometimes these swallow you up, but they have to be done – if something is broken and affecting patient treatment or staff wellbeing, it’s a priority. I work with a great team and we have great links across the hospital.

I always feel proud to work in the NHS - it’s like working in a big family at The Walton Centre, whatever role you do.

Pamela Armitage, Medical Secretary

How many hats can you wear at once? That’s the life of a Medical Secretary!

We’re a first point of contact for the patients, and the gatekeepers for our consultants – answering queries from the start to the end of every day. I’ve worked with Miss Catherine Gilkes and Mr Ajay Sinha for 10 years and really feel part of the team, with the surgeons and the specialist nurses. I’m never made to feel like ‘just the secretary’, but a crucial part of the team.

It’s a real privilege to do this job, at the end of every job is a patient, sometimes going through the worst times of their lives. It can be stressful, but I try and treat the patients like they’re a member of my family.

When someone calls and they’re upset or frustrated, I find it really rewarding to be able to help, find an answer to their query or problem and reassure them. It really makes a difference – to their life, and mine.

Terri-Anne Scattergood, Bed Manager

It’s all about the right patient, in the right bed, right time – that’s the key to being a good bed manager. We manage patients from pre-admission right through to discharge, ensuring patient flow across the Trust to prevent delays in Theatres and timely transfers from ICU to the wards.

All three of our bed managers have a nursing background and have worked on the wards, so we have a good understanding of the patients’ conditions and which ward is suitable and safe for them. We’re supported by our discharge planner and administrator – both vital members of our team.

It can be very challenging – it’s like a big jigsaw puzzle, constantly working against a clock, but everyone across the Trust pulls together to help and we always manage to find a bed for everyone.

It’s so rewarding once every patent is in, especially emergencies from other Trusts – they could be patients needing time-critical, life-changing treatment. It’s the best feeling knowing they’re in the hospital, and will get the care they need.

Paula Bickley, Ward Clerk, Cairns Ward

As a Ward Clerk I look after the administration side of Cairns ward, including making sure all patient information is correct before a patient goes to Theatre. I also help to cover emergencies on other wards and admin needs across the hospital.

Everyone makes a contribution to the care of our patients. Once, a patient’s family lived far away and couldn’t visit. I used to pass on messages from his wife, and had many chats and even sing-songs with him when he was upset and missing his family and his pets. Watching him go home was so rewarding, and he even sent me a photo with his dogs and cat which was lovely.

I love being part of a team and working on a really busy ward – we’re a really good team, all working together. There’s never a dull moment – every day is different!

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