LONG-SERVING staff have been acknowledged for their years of dedication to the NHS.

A ceremony was held at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) in Gobowen to celebrate 23 members of staff who have each dedicated 30 years to the health service.

Between them the staff members have devoted a total of 690 years of service to the NHS.

To thank them, chief executive Mark Brandreth and Alistair Findlay, deputy chairman, presented them with their certificates and vouchers. The special ceremony took place on Friday – a day after the NHS turned 70.

Mr Brandreth said: “It’s quite incredible to have 690 years of wisdom in one room, that’s a really special thing to be able to say.

“It seems appropriate that we celebrate these staff milestones during the same week as the NHS turns 70 because the NHS is all about the people.

“On behalf of the Trust and the entire NHS family, I’d like to thank each and every one of these members of staff for their dedication to caring for our patients.”

Jean Blakemore, clinical support worker on the hospital’s children's ward, who has spent her entire NHS career at RJAH, said: “The 30 years I’ve spent working at this hospital have been absolutely brilliant. It’s a home from home working here, I work with a lovely team of people and our patients are absolutely wonderful.”

Dr Prudencia Tyrrell, consultant radiologist, said: “I’ve worked in the NHS for 30 years but I have been at RJAH for 23 of those, which have been very happy. I’ve seen a lot of changes during my time here. In the early days my department was much smaller than what it is now.

“One of the biggest developments was the introduction of MRI - when I first started here we had no scanners, now we have two. There also used to be just two Consultant Spinal Surgeons, today there’s eight, and MRI is a major contributor in that area.”

Lee Osborne, transformation lead at the hospital, has had a varied NHS career – having started out working in the estates department at RJAH. He said: “I’ve worked in Estates, in the X-Ray department, IT, information and now in the projects team. I’ve also worked for Shropshire Community Health Trust and Shropshire CCG.

“One of my earliest memories of working at RJAH was digging all the turf up for the old theatre block.

“I’ve loved working for the NHS and the variety I’ve seen. So much has changed over the years but probably the biggest change for me has been the buildings, when I started here it was the old ward frontage.”