Meet the retired medical workers volunteering to vaccinate West Suffolk
- Credit: West Suffolk Hospital
They may have retired - but these health workers have returned to the frontline to help beat the pandemic, by volunteering to deliver the all-important Covid-19 vaccine.
The vaccination roll-out has required thousands of volunteers, including some former West Suffolk NHS staff, doctors and nurses who heard the call for help and decided to utilise their medical expertise.
Colette Burgess was a registered nurse who retired in 2018 from her post lecturing healthcare and health and social care at West Suffolk College.
The 60-year-old now works with the research and development team at West Suffolk Hospital on a Covid-19 study and also works with the vaccination team.
She said: "I felt a really strong urge to return to nursing practice for the NHS at the West Suffolk Hospital, where I had worked as a nurse for many years.
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"The hospital is very close to my heart and I knew how hard all the staff work and how committed they are.
"The West Suffolk Hospital is truly amazing and it is such a privilege to join them again and all work together to fight this terrible virus."
Dr Andrew Mason volunteered for Suffolk Accident and Rescue Service (SARS) for 44 years, stepping down in 2014, alongside his work as medical officer for Newmarket Racecourse and West Suffolk Hospital before that.
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The 72-year-old, who lives in Norton, says he only stepped down from medicine as the endless bureaucracy of staying registered became too much.
He has thoroughly enjoyed being able to help where he can at West Suffolk Hospital.
"I have developed quite a good bedside manner through my work over the years, I like to think so anyway," he said.
"It's nice to be back with patients, talking to people and doing what I love.
"I even vaccinated one woman aged 98 who has never had a vaccine in her life before."
Dr Andrew Hassan worked as a GP in Hopton, near Diss, for 35 years until 2015.
He is currently volunteering as a supervisor of staff and front-line clinical staff vaccinations at West Suffolk Hospital, overseeing the work of up to eight vaccinators, who include nurses, paramedics and hospital consultants.
"The task of vaccinating all the adult population is enormous, and I felt compelled to support colleagues in delivering this vital protection efficiently, safely and effectively," he said.
"The range of people who have made themselves available to work in vaccination teams across the country is inspiring, with people from all walks of life including clinicians who retired many years ago, pilots and cabin crew, dentists and their teams.
"All our vaccinators, and their support teams are contributing to the very complex jigsaw of setting us up to beat this disease."