Celebrating our Long Service Superstars!

Each year we celebrate the long service of our staff and volunteers. Staff who have reached 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 years of NHS service and volunteers who have reached 5,10, 15 or 20 years of service have received gift, pin badge and certificate. The 2023 brochure showcases the wonderful stories of staff and volunteers across NTW Solutions and the Trust.

We had two wonderful members of staff showcased in the guide, Grace Lloyd from Procurement and Richard Boyd in Catering! Here are their stories:

Grace Lloyd

Grace is the Purchasing Team Manager in the procurement team, part of NTW Solutions. 

In her role, she manages the buying team who are responsible for purchasing goods and services for the Trust. This is through both external suppliers and NHS Supply Chain. 

The team’s job is to ensure the Trust gets value for money. They provide support to colleagues, giving advice and information in setting up and maintaining finance systems. They also offer training for colleagues using ordering systems.

Grace has worked in procurement for 40 years but has been in her current role since 2006. 

“I started work for what was then No 1 Divisional Supplies Centre at North Terrace in June 1983 working as a clerical officer,” she explained. 
“The supplies department at the time provided services for many sites including Newcastle General Hospital, the Royal Victoria Infirmary, St Nicholas Hospital and Walkergate Park.”

“Since then, I have worked in various roles in supplies, covering medical and non-medical purchasing.” 

Grace has worked through several of the Trust’s reorganisations, from Newcastle City Health NHS Trust to South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and then CNTW. 

With the exception of a part-time job in the Tyneside Irish Centre as a teenager, Grace has only ever worked in supplies. 

“This was my first and only job, and I have loved working in supplies since day one,” she said. “I met my husband here in 1984 and I’ve made some lifelong friends.”

For Grace, the best part of the job is feeling like you’re making a difference. “The best thing is the job satisfaction from feeling that we are contributing to the NHS and to patient care. By providing a support service to staff within the Trust and by trying to ensure that we get value for money for the goods and services we buy, we are able to make a difference.”

“I feel very lucky to work in a team where everyone works together and supports each other.”

The job is not without its challenges, however. Grace explained: “In procurement, we are tasked by the government to make 
cost reductions year on year. This can be very challenging, especially in the current climate.” 

She also cites everchanging technology and having to keep up to date with national procurement objectives as challenges. 

Grace says there are endless opportunities to have a fulfilling career in the NHS. “Everyone, no matter what their role is, has a part to play and will ultimately have an effect on patient care.”

Richard Boyd

Richie Boyd has worked in NHS catering services for over 30 years, but joining the organisation initially came as a surprise.

“I was working for an agency and was doing a job at Nestle,” he explained. “I was meant to be there for two weeks, but I only ended up being there for a day.”

It was on Richie’s first day at Nestle that the agency called offering him a job as a cook at the Royal Victoria Infirmary. 

“The NHS was really hard to get into, you had to know someone in those days, so I jumped at the chance,” he said.

Richie worked at the RVI for nearly a year, making meals for patients with eating disorders. Then he started a job cooking at Newcastle General Hospital. 

He didn’t always set out to work in catering, however. Richie’s working life began as a car sprayer in a garage. He said: “My dad got me the job in the garage, but I didn’t like it. I saw there was a catering course at South Tyneside College and went for it. I enjoyed cooking and my mam said there’ll always be jobs in catering.”

After his training, Richie worked a number of jobs, including cooking in hotels in Devon and in the kitchen at St James’s Park. 

Now, he is a catering supervisor at St Nicholas Hospital, a role he has been in for 27 years. His job involves supervising the filling of catering boxes for different hospital sites across the Trust. 

“I’ve done every job in this team, from doing menus, to driving the van to deliver food, to prepping food, to packing and working in 
catering stores” he said. 

For Richie, the best part of the job is working as part of a team. “We all have each other’s backs.”

He says he’s in the NHS for life now. “For people considering a career in the NHS, I would say if you work hard and help your team, you’ve got a job for life here.” 

Congratulations to everyone who hit their long-service milestone and featured in the brochure. We thank you for your hard work and dedication over these many years!