A Cuckfield man has returned to assist with surgery after completing a ‘return to practice’ scheme at Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH), East Grinstead.
David Spear, 59, is now a fully qualified Operating Department Practitioners (ODP) at QVH thanks to the scheme, which is open to those who have relevant experience but need their skills updated for the role.
David began working in operating theatres almost forty years ago as a theatre porter while he began training at St Thomas’ in London.
He then worked in different theatres for several years, including at QVH.
But after taking time off to travel, he was unable to immediately return to healthcare because of an illness he had contracted abroad. Instead, he worked in office furniture, running his own company for 20 years. In addition, he has been an adventure tour guide, leading treks to the Himalayas and Mount Everest.
It was while on Mount Everest a few years ago he decided he wanted to return to working in theatres. He contacted several hospitals about vacancies but found that his qualifications were out of date.
He had given up on a return until a chance meeting with QVH’s senior ODP Paul Andrews in a Haywards Heath pub. Paul remembered David from his time at QVH 30 years ago and they got talking about his desire to return to theatres. That led to Paul setting up the ‘return to practice’ scheme.
David said: “The idea is that there are all sorts of people who worked in healthcare in the past that can be encouraged to come back.
“When I first worked at QVH at the age of 21 I was the youngest qualified, now I’m the oldest,” he added.
QVH, a specialist NHS hospital providing reconstructive surgery, will be holding an open day on January 30 for people like David who are interested in working as specialist theatre staff.
The open day is for anyone who has or is currently going through basic healthcare training and is interested working in Queen Victoria Hospital’s theatres.
For find information about the day, please call the QVH team on 01342 414353.