Staff at Spencer Ward have celebrated 30 ‘wonderful’ years of serving the community at Cavendish Hospital.
The ward which deals with older people’s mental health was opened in September 1987 by the Duke of Devonshire and three decades on they welcomed patients and carers back for a special party.
Julie Thornhill, the ward manager who has been at the helm for four years, said: “It is a real privilege to work here. We offer a great service to the community and it is lovely to say we have been helping people for 30 wonderful years.”
One of the longest serving staff members Jody Jackson has been a health care assistant for 29 years. She said: “A lot has changed over the years, the biggest being patients used to have a communal room but in 2006 we re-configured the ward and now provide individual rooms.”
Over the years the ward has continued to grown and expand its services available and roof-top garden has been a welcome addition.
Carol McGrath, an occupational therapy assistant, said: “Before we never had any access to outside space but the garden gives us a place to take the patients for a breath of fresh air and they can spot the familiar landmarks like the Devonshire Dome and Solomon’s Temple which makes them feel reassured.” Stephen Ollerenshaw, a nursing assistant who has been on the ward for 11 years said: “We have the best views in the whole of the town up here on bonfire night.” Kay Hodgson, has been a staff nurse for 11 years and added: “The ward has a real family feel to it which is lovely.”
The staff reminisced about on the day trips they used to take patients on.
Kay said: “It was Christmas time and the ward needed a deep clean so we couldn’t have any patients so I wrote to the Duke and he invited us to look at his Christmas trees in Chatsworth House and we even had a silver service lunch.” Spencer ward has won the coveted Gold Award for Quality Care twice and Emma Hopkinson, ward sister, said it is something everyone is so proud of.