Celebrating 75 years of the NHS with CNTW staff stories

Posted: 05/07/23

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a provider of mental health and disability services, produces an annual long service brochure. It celebrates the commitment of CNTW staff and volunteers who have reached significant milestones in their length of NHS service.

In the brochure, staff and volunteers reflect on changes they’ve seen throughout the career and how working for the NHS has impacted their lives.

You can read some of their insights below or access the full Long Service Brochure 2023 here.

Eileen Eve, Community Practitioner in the Older Peoples Community Mental Health Team in North Cumbria

Eileen has seen some dramatic changes in how mental health care is provided over her 50-year NHS career:

“Patients are looked at as individuals now, rather than all being treated the same as they were years ago – when I first started nursing the patients had nothing personal, everybody wore the same dress, the same pyjamas. Things like dementia weren’t even really mentioned or understood back when I began nursing.

“I think the biggest changes I’ve seen over my nursing career is that we now focus on trying to keep people at home as long as possible. For carers, that can be really hard because they’ve got them 24/7, but it’s also much nicer to see them in their own home, in their own surroundings.”


Mary Gair has been a registered volunteer with CNTW
since September 2017 and prior to this volunteered
Alnwick Hospice for many years achieving a grand total of 21 years of volunteering service

Mary looks forward to her volunteering shifts and finds her role very rewarding.

“I always come away from volunteering feeling happy and that I’ve made a difference. I love make others feel better within themselves. It’s important to make others feel wanted.”

When asked what advice she would give to someone thinking about becoming an NHS volunteer, Mary says: “Do it, the satisfaction you will get from helping others will make you so happy.”


Jon Gair, Head of Digital Infrastructure

John began his NHS career 32 years ago when the Trust had only 35 computers across the whole of Northumberland. Now, CNTW has around 10,000 computers across a much bigger area!

He says: “No matter how big we become, we must never lose sight of that sense of togetherness and always aim to work more as one, otherwise you just get isolated departmental silos.”

As for the best part his job, Jon says: “It’s the range of staff that you end up working with and the difference you see the department is making to staff and patients.” For instance, during the pandemic the IT team helped to roll out equipment to enable patients to keep in touch with families and friends at home.

Eric Rothwell, Artist in the Recovery and Engagement team within Secure Care at Northgate Park

Reflecting on his NHS career, Eric says:

“Working for CNTW for 25 years has moulded me into who I am today.

“Working with people in need every day and working with colleagues I have met, befriended and lost over the years, has given me a certain confidence and a life-long lesson.

“From a shy youth to a grey bearded man who can make important decisions through personal experience and knowledge.”