A MAN who joined the NHS when he was 16 says 40 years on, he still loves his job.
Simon Johnston works in the sterilisation and decontamination unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.
The 57-year-old joined the NHS as a porter straight from school but swiftly joined the hospital sterilisation and decontamination unit (HSDU) where he has been for 40 years.
Simon is sharing his story as part of The News’ countdown to NHS 70.
On July 5, the NHS will celebrate its 70th anniversary and all it has achieved since the 1940s.
As part of our coverage, we have called for people involved in the service either as an employee or a patient to get in touch and share their experiences.
Simon was acknowledged at the latest QA Hospital Best People Awards for his 40 years service.
He said: ‘I moved into the HSDU role after only a few months of portering as I found it fascinating – I can’t believe that I have now been here for 40 years.
‘I love my job, so to be recognised for “just going to work” is marvellous.
‘I was surprised when I was told I had been at QA for 40 years – I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
‘My wife Christine is a retired medical secretary, my step-daughter Naomi is a staff nurse at QA – even my grandson has just joined as a lab technician, so the trust is very-much a part of our family.’
HSDU is responsible for providing decontamination, inspection, packaging, moist heat and gas plasma sterilisation to surgical equipment, theatre trays and procedure packs.
Their job is to ensure any reusable medical devices are decontaminated and sterilised to the highest standards for the benefit and safety of the patient.
Simon added: ‘As a team of 85, we process around 1,783,537 instrument trays per year which I receive great job satisfaction for.
‘I was always taught to treat each item as if it was to be used on you and it was great advice.’
In 2008 Simon was awarded an Imperial Service Medal for his contribution to the department, as authorised by Her Majesty the Queen.
Outside work Simon enjoys bird watching, walking along the shoreline at Stubbington and reading.