We talk to Mel Crawford, Operations Manager for Serco at Newham Hospital, who has very deservedly been shortlisted for an Unsung Hero Award, in the Estates & Ancillary category.
What does being shortlisted for this award mean to you?
“I feel really humbled, proud, and a little bit shocked if I’m honest! For me, it’s a lovely thing to be recognised, but I don’t see it as being just for me. This nomination and being shortlisted reflects the hard work of the entire team I work with at Newham Hospital – the people in the Serco teams and the Barts Health staff. I’m very proud of them and to work with them.”
What is your role and how does it help the hospital run?
“Me and my team are involved in the day-to-day running of the hospital and are a big part of making sure it runs safely and smoothly.
“We make sure that every area of the hospital – from the offices to the wards and the theatres – are properly cleaned, something which has become even more important since Covid-19. And we make sure that equipment and beds are where they need to be, moving them around if they’re not. The brilliant clinical staff that we work with couldn’t save lives like they do if my team didn’t keep the hospital and clinical areas clean, tidy and ready to go.”
How did your job changed during the Covid-19 pandemic?
“My role didn’t change, but it did ramp up massively and became a lot busier! We got some new protocols in around deeper cleaning, and even more rigorous infection prevention control measures, but the essence of the role didn’t change. There was just a lot more of it to do. And it was non-stop.
“I remember one evening when we had to change wards over and move patients down to a new intensive care unit. It took us eight hours straight to do, because we had to move each patient and all of the accompanying equipment one-by-one. Everyone worked together to get the job done – it was real team work.
“The biggest change was outside work – I didn’t go back home to Scotland for a long time, mainly because I didn’t want to leave my team. I wanted them to see that I was still coming in to the hospital and that it was safe to do so. I wanted to lead by example.”
What’s the thing about your role?
“Without a doubt, it’s the people. I have a great team and we all get on really well. I work with some really brilliant, fun and kind people at Newham Hospital, both in the Serco teams and the wider Barts Health team. It makes coming to work easier and it really helped to have such great colleagues during the longer, darker days of the pandemic. It made things a lot more bearable.”
Congratulations to Mel on being shortlisted – it’s well deserved!