There was a chance to look behind the scenes at Uckfield Community Hospital yesterday when the chairman of Wealden District Council came to visit.
Cllr Barby Dashwood-Morris met staff as she toured the building and said her aim was to raise the profile of the hospital.
She bounced on a mini-trampoline, tried out a cross-trainer and asked lots of questions on the tour which was led by Heather Green, matron of day surgery and theatres, a long serving member of staff, one of three remaining who moved from the old hospital site in London Road to the new hospital in 1984.
Cllr Dashwood-Morris was accompanied by council vice-chairman Cllr Chris Hardy and also on the tour was Bernard Trew, chairman of the hospital’s League of Friends.
The contribution made by the League of Friends into every area of the hospital was evident throughout the tour.
Chairs, televisions, pictures, wall art, room extensions or state-of-the-art equipment were all pointed out to the council chairman.
Staff joked with Mr Trew that they had shopping lists ready for the next tranche of equipment needed.
Dawn Berry, ward matron, said she regularly visited other units and it made her realise how lucky they were to have the League of Friends at Uckfield. “It makes a huge difference to us,” she said.
The first people introduced to the council chairman were receptionist Rita Holmes, medical secretary Sarah Mattocks and clinic clerk Sue Willsher, all pictured below.
Then physiotherapists Sue O’Hara and Sally Snodin greeted the visitors. Cllr Dashwood-Morris demonstrated balancing talents on a mini-trampoline and tried out a cross-trainer.
Clinical service manager Lesley Eggleston and ward matron Dawn Berry were introduced at Harlands Ward where Dawn said there were 40 beds for inpatients from the local community. The majority came to the hospital for rehabilitation but four single rooms were provided for palliative care.
At the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service office Cllr Dashwood-Morris met team secretary Alison Shore and primary and mental health worker Rebecca Lloyd-Williams, see below.
There were also visits to the X-ray department and to the Minor Injuries Unit where the party were greeted by emergency nurse practitioner Tim Crotty and health care assistant Julie Kemp who has worked at Uckfield Hospital, on the current site and before that at the old one in London Road, for 20 years.
Julie said 40 patients visited minor injuries in one day last week and the following day 36 were seen. “Lots of local people come in. We get great feedback about it being a wonderful service with people using words like brilliant, excellent, friendly, and caring to describe the service. It’s a privilege to work here.”
Janet Morant, booked admissions co-ordinator, is another long-serving member of staff having worked for the hospital for 27 or 28 years. She is also on the League of Friends.
Two of the cleaners Claire Hazelden and Joanna Swider were congratulated on the results of their work. Cllr Dashwood-Morris said she was very impressed by how ‘sparkly’ the hospital looked. It was more than clean, she said. Claire and Joanna can be seen below.
Maintenance men Nigel Batson and Mike Roberts also told the council chairman about their roles. They are pictured with her below.
Cllr Dashwood-Morris has chosen the hospital’s League of Friends as one of her charities for the year, along with the Friends of Crowborough War Memorial Hospital, but her main aim is to highlight the good work done by both hospitals.
“I think this hospital is amazing,” she said about Uckfield. “It is small but very well equipped thanks to the League of Friends who are buying so much more than flowers and pictures for the walls. They are providing fundamental equipment too.”