DCSIMG

A long goodbye to kindly Betty

DEDICATED ... Ian Frame, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trusts executive director for personnel and development, presents Betty Johnson with flowers, watched by her colleagues, friends and her husband, John.

DEDICATED ... Ian Frame, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trusts executive director for personnel and development, presents Betty Johnson with flowers, watched by her colleagues, friends and her husband, John.

AFTER 70 years involvement with the NHS, a South Tyneside pensioner is taking a break – well, almost.

Betty Johnson has retired as a greeter, one of the band of volunteers who welcome patients and their families at South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields.

However, the 81-year-old is continuing in her role as a member of the League of Friends of South Tyneside Hospitals, of which she is a former secretary.

Over the years, she and her husband, John, 83, the League’s present chairman, have helped the group to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy items to benefit patients and help staff in the course of their work.

Mrs Johnson, from South Shields, was 15 when she left school against her parents’ wishes, and applied for the job as a receptionist at the old Ingham Infirmary at Westoe in 1947, the year before the NHS was established.

She said: “I got the job, but when I turned up for work, I found I wasn’t a receptionist but a medical typist.

“There were just two of us and we did everything, from printing forms to ordering surgical instruments.

“Some weeks, we would man the switchboard from 6am to 1pm and then, from 1pm to 5pm, we’d be medical typists.”

As a medical secretary, she also worked at South Shields General Hospital, which then became South Tyneside District Hospital in Harton Lane.

For almost 30 years, she worked for consultant surgeon Mr Eliot Dayan.

Mrs Johnson added: “Even after I retired from my job as a medical secretary, I never felt that I left the hospital – it’s in my blood.

“It was hard to leave the greeters because I loved meeting everyone in outpatients.

“John is still a greeter and I sometimes think I should be going with him, but my failing eyesight was making it very difficult.

“I’m pleased, though, that I’m still able to be involved through the League of Friends.”

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust Chairman Peter Davidson said: “The selfless dedication of Betty, and her husband, John, is an inspiration to us all.

“Our patients and staff miss Betty’s friendly presence on the greeters’ desk, but we’re grateful that she is still very much part of our Trust family.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvez

 

Comments

 
 

Back to the top of the page