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Longest serving director, Jan, to retire

Jan Bloomfield, director of workforce and communications at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT), has today (27 July) announced her retirement from the health service after 27 years in the role, and more than 36 working for the NHS.

Jan, who is the Trust’s longest-serving director, will continue to provide support in an ambassadorial role when she steps down early next year.

Jan said: “It’s not an understatement to say that it’s been a privilege to work here for the last 27 years.

“I’m so proud to be a part of the leadership team, and to have seen the Trust become an outstanding organisation with the best levels of staff engagement in the country. I passionately believe in the NHS and its people.

“This organisation has helped me to grow in my career and give security to my family, and I will miss both it and the people very much. But it’s time for me to step aside, rest, and support the Trust in a different way – in an ambassador role so that I can continue to work with the community that I love and respect.”

Jan, 55, was appointed to the then West Suffolk Hospital in 1991 as the director of personnel. Since then, the scope of her role has changed to embody all workforce, communications, human resource and charity functions for the Trust.

Despite a bad start on her first day (“I was so nervous that I got pains down my right arm and I thought I was having a heart attack – I had to go down to occupational health to get checked out!”), Jan has truly become part of the fabric of WSFT.

Over her tenure, Jan has supported seven different chief executives, and delivered a series of important projects for the Trust, including introducing a crèche on site, digitalising all HR records, helping implement new wellbeing initiatives for staff like fitness classes and hydration stations on wards, and getting local artwork put up across the hospital to improve the environment for patients. Alongside her director role here at WSFT, Jan has led the HR directors’ network for the east of England, and co-chaired the social partnership for the east of England.

Chief executive Stephen Dunn said: “The Trust is exceptionally sad to be losing Jan, who has been a core and inspiring leader at the heart of our organisation for many years.

“Truly focused on putting patients first and the values of NHS, Jan has been fundamental in driving staff engagement and making our Trust one of the best NHS hospitals to work in the country.

“Helping to establish a culture that is focused on our people and their wellbeing, Jan has helped to bring home some of the best NHS staff survey results in the country for the last two years, and can certainly retire with her head held high. We are so proud of Jan and what she has achieved.

“On a personal level, her humour and advice will be greatly missed - not only by myself but by the whole leadership team. We are thrilled that we will still get the benefit of Jan’s expertise in her ambassadorial role for the Trust, and I have no doubt that she will continue to support us and our community with her incredible prowess and enthusiasm.”

Jan, a lifelong Bolton Wanderers fan and mum of two, said that the landscape of healthcare is very different to when she started: “The NHS and indeed this individual Trust has changed so much over my time here. It is so much busier now, and the challenges are very different.

“But I also think that being busier has allowed us to do some really exciting, innovative things. I think the kind of clinical services that we offer are much improved, particularly in relation to the time people have to wait for operations, and the scale of the operations we can perform here now.”

Jan’s seemingly endless list of accolades and responsibilities will no doubt continue to keep her busy. Jan is patron of the Suffolk West NHS Retirement Fellowship, is a governor at Sybil Andrews Academy, a co-opted governor at West Suffolk College, and has just applied to be an honorary commander at RAF Lakenheath as she believes the shared-learning and training that WSFT does in collaboration with the US Air Force is “ground-breaking”.

Trust chair, Sheila Childerhouse, said: “Jan has demonstrated all the qualities required of a great director of workforce. She brings intelligence and energy to everything she does, and has been a crucial and core leader here for many years. Her major contributions have, without a doubt, improved our organisation as a place to work, and I know the Trust will continue to see the benefits of her considerable achievements.”

“Thank you to everyone who has been a part of WSFT, past and present,” Jan added. “Without you I wouldn’t be doing what I do, and I can’t wait to see what this fantastic organisation and its people go on to achieve.”

The recruitment process for Jan’s replacement will begin later in the summer. The Trust intends for there to be a handover period between Jan and her successor, which will likely be in early 2019.


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Jan Bloomfield, director of workforce and communications

Jan Bloomfield, director of workforce and communications