LONG service awards have gone out to more than 250 NHS Forth Valley staff with a total of 6,730 years of service between them.

The health board recently held two special award ceremonies at Forth Valley Royal Hospital to celebrate those who have been loyally helping patients over the years.

Those receiving a Long Service Award included pharmacy technician Helen McCabe, who has notched up half a century of NHS service.

She saw many major changes over her 50 years, from filling pharmacy boxes and pre-packing tablets and liquids to the creation of a new acute hospital, a new pharmacy department, electronic prescribing and robotic dispensing.

Helen originally joined the Pharmacy Department at the former Stirling Royal Infirmary in 1972, gaining a number of qualifications and promotions since.

She said: "It means a lot to me personally to get to 50 years' service as the NHS means so much to me. When I began working with the health service it was a vocation.

"I have always loved and enjoyed my job and working with colleagues over the years I have made many solid friendships which are still ongoing."

Jessie Anne Malcolm, NHS Forth Valley's public involvement co-ordinator was among those celebrating 40 years of service.


LONG SERVICE: NHS Forth Valley has once again recognised staff with the Long Service Award - Images by Whyler Photos of Stirling

LONG SERVICE: NHS Forth Valley has once again recognised staff with the Long Service Award - Images by Whyler Photos of Stirling


In what has been a very varied experience, she started off as a clerical officer, moved on to several personal assistant and secretarial roles, served as car leasing manager and swapped into her current role in 2006.

Dr Rajesh Burgol, consultant radiologist, received an award for 30 years of service and reflected that when he arrived to the Forth Valley, there was no picture archiving and communications systems to store and digitally transmit images.

Instead, piles of film bags were everywhere and he added: "We will soon be over 14 consultants strong with really busy dual CT and dual MRI scanners.

"Thankfully it still feels like a family and the addition of Edinburgh and Glasgow trainees has enhanced this.

"Radiology is and always will be a service under immense pressure, but the team has always made this bearable and enjoyable."

The awards ceremonies were hosted by chief executive Cathie Cowan and chair Janie McCusker.

Of those receiving awards, 118 celebrated 20 years of service, 104 served for 30 years, 30 achieved 40 years of service with one marking half a century.

The majority had a nursing or midwifery background but staff from all areas were recognised.