Today’s NHS birthday milestone has prompted precious and inspirational family memories for Walsall Theatres worker Thomas Roberts.
He has agreed to share his story as colleagues around the country play their part in celebrating 75 years of the NHS today.
Thomas, 31, worked together with his late father Mark, a Senior Operating Department Practitioner (ODP) , at Good Hope Hospital. The pair worked together in Theatres for eight years, in the Intensive Care Unit during the COVID-19 pandemic and were part of the COVID-19 Intubation Response Team.
The father of two, said: “Dad started his career in sterile services at Good Hope Hospital, progressed and completed, what was then, Operating Department Assistant training before becoming the Team Leader for Anaesthetics, a role which he enjoyed for 35 years.
“ODPs provide skilled care and support during each phase of a patient’s operation – anaesthetic, surgery and recovery. The role of an ODP is varied and allows practitioners to provide highly skilled care in a variety of hospital settings including Theatres, Emergency Care, Obstetrics and Critical Care.
“I started working with my father at Good Hope as a Theatre Porter in 2013, before progressing and undertaking my own ODP training in Walsall, which I completed in 2017.
“Five years later I joined Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust as a Trauma and Elective Orthopaedic Theatre Team Leader and I credit the good example my father set me and everything I learned from him at work with making me the colleague I am today. I sadly lost my father in 2021 after he suffered a heart attack but the happy memories I have of us working together and seeing the difference we can make to patients will always stay with me. Those were special years spent working together and I’m so glad we had them.”
“I enjoy leading a fantastic and supportive team whilst also still being able to maintain the clinical aspects of my role. I am lucky enough to meet many patients from different walks of life during my day-to-day work and offer support to patients when they may be at their most vulnerable and anxious.
“I aspire to be as good as my dad and owe a lot of my knowledge and experience now to his mentorship and skills which he shared with countless students during his career. On today’s 75th birthday of the NHS it feels very fitting to share our story and raise awareness about the role of ODPs who are always behind the scenes but are a vital part of the services we provide.”
Thomas’s mum Deborah also worked at Good Hope Hospital in the X-ray Department, while the hospital’s fantastic maternity staff looked after his children Leo and Lily who were born at Good Hope.
“We are so lucky to have the National Health Service and I’m proud to be a part of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.”