Voluntary services manager retires after 31 years at West Suffolk Hospital

Linda Murrell, voluntary services manager at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, is retiring after 31 years’ service.

Ian McKee and Linda Murrell at RWSfm

Starting at the Trust in 1986 Linda began working in the hospital in administration and then in voluntary services, where she found her niche and has worked ever since.

Five years ago Linda was promoted to voluntary services manager, in which time she has increased the number of volunteers to a 400 strong cohort that help at West Suffolk Hospital, and now out in Newmarket Community Hospital, alongside developing a student volunteer programme.

Linda is topping off her tenure with a record-breaking year in 2016 where more than 400 volunteers gave 47,358 hours of time to the Trust, with 49 long service awards distributed to volunteers who, between them, had given 530 years of service, including one with 35 years’ service.

Linda said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work among such motivated and dedicated staff and volunteers. West Suffolk Hospital has been my second home for such a long time, but I’ve got a lot planned for my retirement, such as taking up the mandolin and perhaps doing some volunteering myself! It’s in my blood now, so I will look for a volunteer role for myself in the future.

“Things have changed so much at the Trust since I started. I used to manually print the staff newsletter on a big roller printer – now we’re a ‘global digital exemplar’ harnessing all things digital in the way that we are run and how we care for our patients. The Trust also now works in an alliance to deliver local NHS community health services across the west of Suffolk.

“These changes create big opportunities in the future for voluntary services, and it’s great that a fresh pair of eyes has now joined the Trust to take the reins and face these new challenges. Developing what we can do out in the community as well as in an acute hospital setting is really exciting.”

Steve Dunn, chief executive at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Linda has been a stalwart figure at the forefront of helping our community get involved in their hospital. She has been instrumental in helping the volunteer service develop, and has always been innovative when looking at ways to involve them in as many areas of the Trust as possible. Linda has lived and breathed West Suffolk Hospital’s values throughout her career here, and she will be sadly missed. On behalf of the Trust I would like to say a huge thank you to Linda for her hard work and dedication, she certainly deserves a restful retirement.”

Ian Mckee, who has previously worked in multiple charities across the UK including Parkinson’s UK, will be following in Linda’s footsteps as the new voluntary services manager and began in post in November 2017.

Volunteers fulfil a variety of roles at the Trust, including helping on the wards at mealtimes, spending time with patients who have dementia, raising funds for the hospital through the Friends’ Shop and welcoming patients and visitors at clinics and receptions. Specialist bleep volunteers collect and deliver medications to wards, while others help in areas across the hospital: operating theatres, the Eye Treatment Centre, and in the chaplaincy and gardens.

For more information about volunteering opportunities at the WSFT, contact the voluntary services team on 01284 713169 or email voluntary.services@wsh.nhs.uk