Staff who have dedicated their working lives to the Royal Free London were recognised at the annual long service awards last month. 

Members of staff reaching 25 or 40 years’ service over the last year were invited to attend the event at Barnet Hospital, along with their family and friends. The awards ceremony was led by Deborah Sanders, interim chief executive at Barnet Hospital, Kate Slemeck, Royal Free Hospital chief executive, and Peter Ridley, chief finance and compliance officer. 

Midwives, healthcare assistants, pharmacists, nurses and doctors were among those who attended and all the winners received a certificate and gift voucher. 

Deborah Sanders said: “We are proud to be celebrating 43 long-serving members of staff today, who between them have a staggering 1,135 years of service. Each one of them has made such a difference to our hospitals and we thank them for their dedicated service.”

Once the certificates were presented, staff and guests enjoyed afternoon tea in the hospital restaurant. Tables were decorated with balloons in NHS blue, gold star confetti and an array of cake stands with finger sandwiches and macarons. 

Balu Chauhan, a pharmacy assistant who has worked at the Royal Free Hospital for 40 years, said: “Next year I will be celebrating 50 years in the NHS, so it is amazing to be recognised for my 40 years of service with the Royal Free London. I retired 10 years ago but came back because I missed it!”

Anissa Rahemtulla, Caroline Caney and Hansa Gosrani, all celebrating 25 years in paediatrics at Barnet Hospital, said recognition of hard work makes a positive difference to staff, as well as the people you work with. 

Anissa said: “We are like a family in so many ways. The hospital is like a second home, the colleagues we work with are brilliant and you feel like you’re making a real difference to people’s lives. Someone I cared for 25 years ago came to see me today and it was really special.”