Heron Ward colleagues hugging Matron Alison Read

Tears of joy as longest-serving team member Jo cuts the ribbon to reopen Heron Ward

There were emotional scenes at Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Herne Bay as overjoyed colleagues returned to the newly-refurbished Heron Ward.

Following the £900,000 makeover at the Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) site, the ribbon to reopen the ward was cut by Healthcare Assistant Jo Stuttle, 74.

Described as ‘the heart of the team’ by Ward Matron Alison Read, Jo has worked at the hospital for 27 years.

The 19-bed ward now boasts a new reception area and nurses’ station. Patient spaces are freshly decorated, with new flooring, LED-lighting, bedside televisions and Juliet balconies in the side rooms.

Jo Stuttle cuts the ribbon to open the ward

Alison said: “We are all so excited and happy to return to our home, Heron Ward. The team has been working so hard in our temporary location at Westbrook House, looking after our patients and giving them the best care possible.

The new space is dedicated to our colleagues, past, present and future, as we welcome patients back home to Herne Bay.”

KCHFT Chief Executive Mairead McCormick, said: “The new ward is bright, colourful and spacious and I was thrilled to see the effort that had gone into making it a space where patients can receive the best possible care.

“So much thought has gone into the refurbished side rooms where we will be able to provide high-quality, end-of-life care. The big new staff room shows we value our colleagues and to see them jumping around in excitement was lovely.

“It was a special moment to see Jo cutting the ribbon after everything she has done and continues to do for the hospital. There’s a real sense of teamwork here at Herne Bay, it feels like a family.”

The refurbishment was possible thanks to a generous legacy from the Mermikides family, donations from the League of Friends and additional funding from NHS England. A huge thanks to everyone who made the refurbishment possible.

By Ed

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