Portsmouth hospital worker shortlisted for NHS lifetime achievement award after dedicating 46 years to role

Rose Bennett, 76, a domestic assistant at St James' Hospital, is nominated for the NHS Parliamentary Awards Lifetime Achievement award 'Picture: Solent NHS Trust
Rose Bennett, 76, a domestic assistant at St James' Hospital, is nominated for the NHS Parliamentary Awards Lifetime Achievement award 'Picture: Solent NHS Trust

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SHE has spent the past 46 years walking the wards of St James’ Hospital, cleaning as she goes and her efforts have seen Rose Bennett shortlisted for a national award.

The 76-year-old is a domestic assistant for Solent NHS Trust and is based at the Milton hospital where she has worked since 1972.

I love my job and the company I get at St James’

Rose Bennett

Her dedication and passion for the job has seen Rose named the Lifetime Achievement south region champion in the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards.

She was chosen as the winner from more than 800 nominees after being put forward by her daughter Tracey Hobbs and manager Jenny Ford.

Rose, from Milton, was then nominated for the regional award by Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan before being chosen as the winner by a panel.

Totally unaware of her win, she cried when she was told by her family.

She said: ‘I didn’t even know that I had been nominated for the award so it was a real surprise when I was told.

‘I was at a birthday dinner and Tracey passed me a letter saying I was the regional winner. I thought it was a joke to begin with and then, when I realised it was real I cried. I was proud.’

Rose started off working evening shifts at St James’ Hospital on two of its wards after having her two daughters.

She moved to full-time hours and has been doing the same role since the 1970s. In that time, her mum, aunts and daughters have all worked at the hospital.

And her love for the job has seen her vow to stay ‘until the hospital closes’.

Rose added: ‘I love my job and the company I get at St James’. We are all really good friends and I love what I do.

‘My role hasn’t really changed over the past 46 years but I don’t mind. I have a routine and I will carry on working here until [the hospital’s main building] closes.’

Rose will now go against three other NHS employees to win the national Lifetime Achievement Award at the House of Commons on July 4.

Sue Harriman, chief executive of Solent, said: ‘Rose thoroughly deserves this recognition and we are delighted for her. She is a real character with so many stories to tell about her time in the NHS. Many people enter the NHS as a vocation – however, when NHS heroes are recognised it goes a long way in uplifting spirits.’

Chris Box, associate director of estates and facilities, added: ‘Facilities management teams are often overlooked but they are pivotal to the patient experience and wellbeing. It is to Rose’s credit we can talk not only about her commitment but also that of her family.’

Mr Morgan described Rose as an unsung hero and congratulated her for being shortlisted.

‘It was a privilege to nominate Rose for this award and I’m so pleased she has been shortlisted,’ he said.

‘Rose has had a remarkable career in our NHS, spanning almost half a century; after hearing about the thousands of patients she has helped and her unwavering dedication to St James, I knew I had to put her forward.

‘ose is truly an unsung hero. So much of the work done by facilities workers goes unnoticed and without celebration, as the son of a hospital cleaner, I know what a difference people like Rose make to patients and staff.

‘It is only right that she gets the recognition she deserves and I’m sure the whole of Portsmouth will be as proud as I am when we welcome her to Parliament for the ceremony.’