HOHC: Paul Nolan, Head of Property Maintenance
Paul Nolan, Head of Property Maintenance at St Helier
“My job is unique: I arrive to work in my three-piece suit, but tend to go home in overalls having had to resolve an issue with our ageing buildings, from fixing our underground piping system to issues on the roof – you never know what challenge you might face.
“I’m at work by 6am, greeting our Estates Team’s familiar faces before chairing lots of meetings – virtually now of course! My mum was a student nurse at St Helier in the 70s, and I joined the Trust in 98. A great deal has changed, but the one constant is the dedication of our staff – never more profoundly proven than during COVID-19. My team have worked tirelessly this last year and I am immensely proud of them. In 2020 we faced big challenges, and many have stepped up into new roles.
“Over the course of my career at the Trust I’ve had many unique experiences that will stay with me for years to come. One such meaningful moment is when I met the man who did my job back in the 50s – purely by chance – when he was an inpatient. He overheard me discussing the old underfloor heating system and how St Helier used to be the largest building in Europe with underfloor heating throughout. Amazingly, despite his great age his detailed memory was faultless and we talked for over an hour about hospital developments in the years we’d looked after it. He told me that when he started the bomb damage from the blitz was still being repaired, and Maternity was being rebuilt!
“Public support for the NHS this year has been amazing. I stood on top of the highest point of the building, just beside where the Union flag flies, to listen to the applause from local residents during Clap for Carers at the height of the first COVID wave. A convoy of large tankers that helped drain an underground flood here in 2019 drove past in procession with full beam and their sirens on. It was overwhelming at a time when we were so tired and run down, bringing tears to many an eye.
“The NHS can be much maligned, but this year has shown that when the chips are down and you really need it, the NHS is there for you. It seems to me that the NHS runs on tea, compassion, loyalty, humour and adrenaline – in that order!”
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