12 July 2018

Mental health nurse recognised for more than 40 years’ service

A mental health nurse who has worked for the NHS for more than 40 years was recently invited to meet with the Prime Minister and the former Health and Social Care Secretary.

Jane Palmer, who started work as a mental health nurse in 1974 at the Roundway Hospital in Devizes, was invited along with other health service staff as part of the celebrations to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS.

On Wednesday 4 July, Jane travelled to Number 10 Downing Street for a reception with Teresa May and Jeremy Hunt as part of the year-long commemorations to mark the seven decades of healthcare set up by Aneurin Bevan in 1948.

Speaking about the visit, Jane, who works for the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust and is currently based with the Primary Care Liaison Service (PCLS) in Swindon, said: "I was invited along with many other health service workers, with most of us unaware we had been invited until the Monday before the event.

"After going through security we went into Number 10 and went initially into the garden. However, there was a shower of rain so we then went into the formal rooms there, passing all the pictures of previous Prime Ministers on the stairs.

"Teresa May came to speak to us, followed by Jeremy Hunt who presented 40 of us with a badge to mark over 40 years' service in the NHS. There was a real sense of occasion and I am so honoured to have been invited."

On completing her training Jane went to work in Swindon, initially at Stratton Hospital on an elderly care ward, before moving to Seymour Clinic, and then on to a community-based role. After several years, during which the team moved to the Old Victoria Hospital, Jane moved to work in a new team in Marlborough and then on to Devizes.

She retired from full-time work in 2013 but returned to work part time in Chippenham before taking up her current role in the PCLS team in Swindon as a specialist nurse in older adults care.

Speaking about her career, Jane said: "Over the 44 years I have worked in mental health I have seen many changes to the care provided to our service users. There is a great deal of work being done to ensure people with mental health issues get the care they need, when and where they need it. Much more support is provided in the community now and it's so rewarding to be able to improve the quality of people's lives.

"Working in mental health provides a wide and varied career. I have thoroughly enjoyed my 44 years so far and I would urge anyone thinking about a career in mental health to find out more about the types of roles available."

To find out more about working for AWP visit www.awp.nhs.uk

Jane Palmer

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