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Jo Hodgkinson: 'We are very excited to be celebrating the 100th anniversary of a hospital that means so much to people of Congleton.'

1 June 2024

JoH.jpgSenior Sister on the Aston Unit at Congleton War Memorial Hospital, Jo Hodgkinson (pictured left) provides an overview of the celebrations that have taken place during May, alongside a small behind the scenes insight into the work going on the ward.

As staff working at the hospital, we are very excited to be celebrating the 100th anniversary of a hospital that means so much to people of Congleton.

There have been a number of things taking place during May to mark this momentous milestone, most notably the Picnic in the Park event at Congleton Park on Bank Holiday Monday (27th May) run by Congleton Town Council which was a fabulous event despite the weather. This 1920s themed celebration was a great opportunity for the people of the town to share their appreciation for the hospital and enjoy the many activities on offer.

Staff and patients on the Aston Unit have also been celebrating the anniversary with a small afternoon tea event which took place on Wednesday 22nd May – this is the date the hospital was officially opened on back in 1924. We all enjoyed marking the occasion which included our staff wearing ten decades of nursing uniforms.

Alongside these events, you may have also seen our charity is running a ‘Wellbeing Appeal’ in aid of supporting the wellbeing of staff, patients and volunteers at the hospital. Please do support this if you can as it will provide a wellbeing garden which will make a huge difference and will provide staff with a space to relax and unwind away from the pressures of the hospital and a safe and secure space for patients and their families which will help to reduce the distress and anxiety potentially caused by a stay in hospital.

From a personal point of view, I have worked in health care for the past 32 years specialising in the care of older people. I started as a healthcare assistant at the age of 20, before completing my training and qualifying as a nurse in 2007. I first joined the Aston Unit in 2009 as a Staff Nurse and have since progressed up to my current role as Senior Sister.

The Aston Unit is for Intermediate Care that provides short-term intervention to preserve the independence of people who might otherwise face unnecessarily prolonged hospital stays. The team on the unit includes a mix of experienced nurses and healthcare assistants, and as senior sister I have been skilled at spotting talent amongst my team and making sure each member of staff has the opportunity to work with the skills they have worked so hard to attain, making coming to work a meaningful and fulfilling experience.

Our youngest team member is 22 and the oldest 71. This generational mix is key in both delivering an exceptional standard of care and future proofing our service for years to come. We actively encourage a supportive and nurturing environment for patients and staff which helps them achieve our goals. A therapy team is also based on the unit which consists of Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Therapy Assistants and the multi-disciplinary working always means the patient is at the heart of all they do.

The team support each other inside and out of work forming strong bonds with each other and this element meant we were able to achieve Gold accreditation status last year for being safe, well led, effective, responsive and caring towards staff, patients and their relatives. As the first ward at East Cheshire NHS Trust to do so, the team and I were incredibly proud to do this, and it reflected the hard work we put in to provide exceptional care to our patients.