Helen says farewell to Harrogate Hospital after nearly 40 years service

Helen (centre) on her final day at Harrogate District Hospital surrounded by friends and colleagues.
Helen (centre) on her final day at Harrogate District Hospital surrounded by friends and colleagues.

A leading Occupational Therapist has said goodbye to Harrogate District Hospital after serving nearly 40 years with the NHS Trust.

Helen Morton has retired as the Professional Lead for Occupational Therapy at Harrogate District Hospital, after 37 years of service.

Born in Stirling, Helen started her career in Glasgow before moving to Harrogate in 1981.

She said: “At that time there were six hospitals round the District, I worked in five, the only one I didn’t work in was the Royal Baths.

“When I first came I went to Scotton Banks Hospital. It was in a beautiful setting just on the outskirts of Knaresborough.”

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After Scotton Banks, Helen went to Knaresborough Hospital and then to the General Hospital which was replaced by the current Harrogate District Hospital in the late 1990s.

Helen said: “What amazes me is what they have managed to do on the District site because if you can imagine you’re coming in the from the front, the building only went as far as literally that front bit. If you go up to the surgical wards and the orthopedic wards, that’s really all there was.

“It doesn’t look like a big site but if you think now that all the services are on here.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes but then the health service is evolving and changing all the time.”

But for Helen, the size of the hospital has been a key factor in keeping her at the Trust for so long.

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She said: “The hospital itself is a nice size, it’s small enough that you feel you’re part of a wider team, if you were working in the LGI for example, there would be a lot of OTs who never see other members of their own profession because they’re all just in their own little hubs, it’s very anonymous and detached.”

“But here, especially when you’ve been around for a while, you get to know most people and there is a friendliness, they talk to you in the corridors.

She added: “I’m very proud to have worked in the health service and I have always loved being an OT, it’s been absolutely wonderful but the best part of all has got to be the patients.

“A lot of the elderly patients, I have worked with for years.

“The ones that come back in again, over the years they are the ones that stick to your heart.

“You get up in the morning and you come in and even now, even at the point of retiring I still get a great buzz.

“That love of the job has never diminished for me."

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