James presenting Irena with her certificate
James presenting Irena with her certificate

James Frith MP has presented a nurse at Fairfield General Hospital with a certificate to recognise over 50 years serving the people of Bury.

James nominated Irena Grindrod for the Lifetime Achievement award in the prestigious NHS Parliamentary Awards, created to celebrate NHS staff, carers and volunteers – their hard work, innovative ideas and unwavering efforts to put patients first.

Irena Grindrod has worked as a nurse in the NHS in Bury for over 50 years. Born to Polish parents in Wales and spending her early years in a Polish refugee camp, Irena could not speak English until she was 11 and left high school with no qualifications. She became a cadet then student nurse and started her training at the age of 18, at the Bury and Rossendale School of Nursing attached to Bury General Hospital. Qualifying in 1969, she joined Bury General Hospital, also working at its satellite hospitals including Beeley’s, Ramsbottom’s Aitken Hospital and the Florence Nightingale Unit. Despite now being in her early 70s, she continues to work as a Bed Manager at Fairfield General Hospital today.

Irena said:

“As an 18-year-old, I applied for nurse training. At my interview, the matron asked me why I wanted to become a nurse. I replied that I wanted to help people.

“Over the years that I have nursed, nursing has evolved to an extent no one could have envisaged at the time of my interview. The one constant that has remained as the pivotal role in nursing is the reason I gave so many years ago. Nurses are people who want to help people, and that is what I have tried to do for the last 54 years working for the NHS. I’ve enjoyed every moment.”

Irena was nominated by her daughter, Kathryn, and by the staff of Fairfield and the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, who said in their supporting statement:

“Irena’s ethos is always that the patients come first and ensures any role is patient centred first and foremost. She is a credit to the nursing profession and NHS in general.”

James said:

“Irena has an inspiring story and she is a shining example of why our NHS is the nation’s most beloved institution. She could have retired long ago but she continues to go above and beyond the call of duty to serve the people of Bury.

“On my visits to local health and care services I regularly see examples of fantastic care that make a genuine difference and touch the lives of local people in Bury. I’m delighted to be able to recognise some of those involved for these prestigious awards.”

James also nominated Bury’s Integrated Community Cardiology Pilot for the Excellence in Healthcare award and the team won the regional title at the NHS Parliamentary Awards.

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