James Paget at 40: Theatre nurses' love for hospital

Theatre nurses Lisa Ashcroft and Julie Peek

Theatre nurses Lisa Ashcroft and Julie Peek - Credit: JPUH

This month the James Paget University Hospital is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its official opening.

To help celebrate the landmark date we have been talking to some of the staff who work there. Here we speak to Theatre Nurses Lisa Ashcroft and Julie Peek.

Theatre Nurses Lisa Ashcroft and Julie Peek have cared for countless surgical patients since the James Paget’s operating theatres first opened.

Lisa and Julie have worked together throughout the hospital’s 40 years - and before that, were colleagues at the Lowestoft and North Suffolk Hospital.

They moved across to the Paget when the Lowestoft Hospital’s operating theatre closed in December 1981 - just two weeks before Great Yarmouth General closed its theatres too.

“It was an exciting time,” said Lisa. “We came from a small, very old local hospital with one operating theatre where we scrubbed and washed instruments, made up trays and sterilized them in our own theatre autoclave.

“It was amazing to be in a large, newly-built district general hospital with pre-packed, sterilized instrument sets being delivered directly from a Hospital Sterilizing and Decontamination Unit to our complex of seven theatres.”

Julie recalled that Lowestoft was a small friendly hospital, where everyone knew everyone. “There were some concerns as to how the staff from the Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth hospitals would gel. However, there were no problems and the two teams bonded and worked well together.

“When we transferred, we were told that the hospital was built to last 25 years - little did we know then that we would still be working here more than 40 years later! During this time, there have been many changes but the James Paget still remains the friendly and welcoming hospital it was all those years ago,” she added.