Maternity staff say goodbye to King's Lynn hospital after combined 140 years' service
Hospital staff in Lynn have this week bid farewell to four of their maternity colleagues who are retiring after a combined 140 years of service to the area.
Between them, Tracey Stafford, Christine Harvey, Tracy Cross and Patricia Wolstanholme have helped to deliver thousands of babies at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
And colleagues in its maternity department have hosted a retirement party in their honour.
Tracy, who has spent the past 36 years working at the hospital, said the role had been a “huge privilege” and she is still planning to work on a part-time basis.
For the past six years, she has worked with women and their partners whose babies have died before birth or are facing severe disabilities.
She said: “The best bit about being a midwife is being able to give a positive experience to women and children in West Norfolk.
“Sometimes the families just need to know that they can ring you at any time to get advice or if you put them in contact with support networks.
“After supporting the mum and the family through the difficult time along with the next pregnancy and then you see them holding their new baby – it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Tracey, who also began working at the QEH in 1983, has most recently worked as a community midwife within the hospital’s home birth service.
She said: “It is always an honour to be there when the baby is born but you are also part of a family event.
“Every day has been a highlight and I have always learned something new. It has been a lovely job but I’m looking forward to my retirement.”
The longest-serving of the four is Christine, who is currently the unit’s delivery suite co-ordinator and first joined the hospital’s staff in 1980.
In that time, she has helped to deliver nearly 1,000 babies alone.
She said: “One of the things I have enjoyed most as a midwife is seeing trainee midwives progress.
"They arrive nervous and then go onto develop their expertise.”
Meanwhile, Patricia, who is currently a practice development support worker, also isn’t quite ready to end her 29-year association with the hospital just yet.
She is planning to continue working as an NVQ assessor, a role she has had for the past eight years.
She said: “I have enjoyed my 29 years here and have seen a lot of changes. There have been a lot of highlights.”
Chief Nurse Emma Hardwick, who is also a midwife, added: “I would like to make a personal thank you to Tracy, Christine, Tracey and Patricia for their many years of service to the women and children of West Norfolk.”