Thursday, June 20, 2024

Nurse to attend Westminster Abbey service for NHS birthday

ONE of their staff members will be joining NHS staff and their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh for a special service at Westminster Abbey to celebrate the NHS 75th birthday.

Spencer Dinnage is a Operational Service Manager for Older People’s Community Mental Health, Dementia and Frailty in mid and south east Essex.

He is also a regional clinical advisor for older adult mental health for NHS England, and a steward for the Ageing Well Programme for Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System.

“I am very proud of working in the NHS,” said Spencer.

“I trained later in life to be a mental health nurse – I worked in central government before in Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise and re-trained in 2007.

“While I enjoyed my work, the merger with Inland Revenue brought an opportunity to take a change in direction and take on a new challenge, while continuing in public service.

“Since then I have only ever worked with older people and those with dementia.

“If somebody had said to me when I started nursing that was what I would want to do, I would have said no.

“But I went on my first placement for a dementia ward in 2008 and I thought ‘that’s it, that’s what I want to do.”

“At the time, I thought it was an area of care that was under-invested in and I think it is an area of need.

“We really have come on great strides since then with care for older people’s mental health and frailty.”

Spencer is passionate about holistic care for older people.

“You can’t look at physical, mental, cognitive, social and emotional health separately,” he said.

“I’m trying to bring mental health into all thinking about the care of older people, and it’s very much part of the Ageing Well Programme agenda.” 

The service at Westminster Abbey is on the NHS 75th birthday tomorrow, Wednesday 5 July.

It will include around 1,500 NHS staff, as well as senior government and political leaders, health leaders and celebrities.

Guests will include May Parsons, an associate chief nurse who delivered the world’s first vaccine outside of a clinical trial in December 2020; Enid Richmond, 91, who was one of the first people to work in the NHS; and Richard Webb-Stevens, a paramedic who was first on the scene of the Westminster Bridge terror attack.

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