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News

Hospital Heroes – September 2020

Consultant News

At St John & St Elizabeth Hospital, we take huge pride in the amazing work of our team and their dedication to our mantra: Putting People First.

We have over 570 people working for us across 41 departments and consider each and every one integral to the smooth running of the hospital.

Our Hospital Hero series gives us the opportunity to share their stories, to learn about different roles and to get a better understanding about what it is that appeals to them about caring for patients.

Be sure to follow the hospital’s Instagram account (@stjohnandstelizabethhospital) for our latest portraits and keep an eye on the hospital website for a monthly round-up.


Harshani Siriwardana, Hospital Unit Coordinator (Orthopaedics)

I’ve worked here for a total of two years and seven months. I started in 2018 as a reception administrator in the Imaging department and then took up my current role as a unit coordinator in March 2019.

I help to coordinate the orthopaedic consultant clinics; I book patients in, refer them to consultants, liaise with their secretaries and also insurance companies. The aim is to ensure our patients enjoy a seamless journey from enquiry to hospital stay.

I’m the first point of contact when someone calls up our department to enquire about our services. I, therefore, have to explain who we are and what we do. Patients will often ask lots of medical questions with an initial enquiry, often about their knees, hips, feet and ankles.

It’s a really interesting and rewarding role, you get to speak to all sorts of people and try to help them with their conditions.

We reassure them that we work with top consultants at our Hospital and have everything under one roof to treat them; imaging, bloods, surgery, physiotherapy, paediatrics, outpatient clinics and our Casualty First urgent care centre. Everything is done at our Hospital.

Explaining things clearly makes people feel comfortable about coming here and also, we have a great reputation. After all, we’ve been doing this for over 160 years.

Even during the COVID-19 lockdown we were able to offer virtual consultations with our consultants. And once they’ve had that virtual contact, the next step is to get their imaging, or whatever tests are required, done. We were constantly providing that service throughout.

What I love about our Hospital is the people. The staff are amazing, everyone is so friendly and really accommodating. It’s very much like a family.

Before joining the Hospital I worked with all ranges of people, from kids to the elderly. I started as a nursery nurse with toddlers and pre-school kids, became a healthcare assistant working with young adults with mental health issues and then worked with older people providing personal care at a care home. My final position before joining here was as a care-coordinator and involved planning care for elderly in the domiciliary care field. Working in partnership with various professionals such as carers, social workers and councils formed part of the role to ensure that the service users were assisted to live fuller longer and more productive lives.


Justin Forrester, Supplies Assistant

I’ve held the role of Supplies Assistant for 16 years. I got the job not long after moving here from South Africa. I’m so lucky the position became available. This a wonderful place to work, a really warm environment. It’s my colleagues who make it really special.

I receive orders which were placed by staff members from suppliers via couriers, be it personal or work-related. I also deal with requests from all departments, either in person or via phone or email. Whatever the request is, I either place these on order or if we have the items in stock, I issue them to the relevant person or department. Once items arrive, I sort the deliveries out and ensure they go to the correct department or individual.

As you can imagine, it’s been a stressful period in recent months due to COVID-19. Staff across all departments have had needs, both medical and personal, but circumstances made it very difficult for suppliers. Many closed down and others had serious backlogs. Thankfully my team has managed to pull through. We’ve done our very best to keep everyone as happy as possible.


Andrew Ufot, Phlebotomist

I think I first started working here via an agency in 1996 and then became full time the year after. As a Phlebotomist, my role involves collecting and processing blood samples from patients – both outpatients and inpatients – and getting them down to the lab for analysis with the help of the porters. It’s about ensuring the process goes as smoothly as possible. We also deal with urine samples and swab tests undertaken by nurses, it’s quite varied.

We were quite quiet during the lockdown period at the beginning but now we’ve been very busy following the pandemic spike. Not just doing blood tests but also the antibody testing. That brought a lot of people to our Hospital and we also had to test all the staff and consultants.

I was working in Charing Cross Hospital on the pathology side of things but I decided I didn’t want to be looking at machines all day. It’s better to have human interaction! I opted to work in an outpatient setting and dealing with patients face-to-face. I find it to be more rewarding, you get the chance to meet new people and to talk to them. I’m a people person so it suits me more than talking to machines!

I really enjoy working here, even if it is a little hectic and nerve-racking right now with the pandemic and all the extra protocols we have in place to keep people safe. It’s still enjoyable, especially working with my colleagues. I’ve been very lucky on that front to have had so many good colleagues down the years and at present. I would say there’s a family atmosphere, for sure.

The Hospital has grown a lot since I joined. We used to have maybe 40 or 50 consultants now I understand it to be over 400. Obviously that brings a lot more work but diversity in the work as well. For example, we’ve also got new departments like paediatrics which we didn’t used to have at the time I started. There’s been a lot of change. At one time I knew everybody in the corridors by name but now there’s a lot more people!


Keep checking back each month for more updates in our Hospital Heroes series.


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