As the NHS marks its 75th Birthday celebrations, UHL Senior Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Hazel Williams, marked a special service milestone of her own - 55 years of NHS service.
When Hazel Williams started work at Leicester Royal Infirmary in April 1968, The Beatles were number one in the charts, Sean Connery was starring as James Bond and England were football world champions.
55 years on, our longest-serving colleague is one of three UHL representatives attending a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the 75th birthday of the NHS.
Hazel said she was ‘shocked and amazed’ to receive the invitation. Her son will travel to London with her and they plan to add to this special day by having afternoon tea at the Cafe Royal and visiting a recording studio, to record her recollections of the day.
Since joining a fledgling Radioisotope Service, a section of the Medical Physics Department, Hazel has worked as a technologist in Nuclear Medicine throughout her career, taking a key role in developing and leading the expansion of what is now a large, thriving service to both Groby Road Hospital, before its closure, and Glenfield, where she has worked since 1994.
Along the way, Hazel worked on the development of a ground-breaking cardiac tracer, in collaboration with Loughborough University and a modified version of this is still used throughout the world.
Hazel officially retired in 2013, but immediately returned to work part-time.
She says: “I’ve seen many changes and advances in working practices and technology during my time in the NHS. I feel that I have achieved a lot and I’m grateful for the many fantastic colleagues I’ve worked with over the years, many of whom have moved on or are retired, but will remain lifelong friends.
“I still feel like a valued member of the team. My main aim has always been to care for and treat both patients and staff with kindness and respect.
“There were very few women in the department in the early days, but that was never an issue. The one constant has been the professional and dedicated team that I’ve always been privileged to work with.
“It’s a great honour to represent my department and all at UHL, of which I am a proud member, at Westminster Abbey on the 75th birthday of our wonderful NHS.”