Director pays tribute to ‘fantastic’ team at Pilgrim Hospital

Tina White
Tina White

The troubleshooter brought in to get Pilgrim Hospital out of special measures has described the opportunity as a ‘real privilege’ as she retired after 36 years in the health care industry.

The director of operations at the hospital, Tina White, said she had ‘loved every moment’ of her career.

The staff have been fantastic and I don’t think you could work with a better team than at Pilgrim

Director of operations at Pilgrim Hospital, Tina White

She said the highlight of her career was ‘being a trailblazer’, adding: “The best job I have had is this one, where I was asked to come to help people at Pilgrim and get out of special measures. That was a real privilege to be asked to help.”

Mrs White said her final role had ‘been the hardest I have ever done’.

However, she said despite it ‘testing every single skill set I’ve got’ it had been a fantastic job.

She said: “The staff have been fantastic and I don’t think you could work with a better team than at Pilgrim.”

Mrs White began as a student nurse in Rotherham in 1980-83, qualifying to become a staff nurse on the orthopaedic ward for a couple of years.

During her career she has also worked in operating theatres, and worked in Doncaster, as a theatre sister.

She has had roles with Macmillan, the Primary Care Trust in Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire Community Health Service, where she brought in more than £7.5 million.

She also worked as a coordinator for information for health and public engagement for Lincolnshire Health Service, where she introduced new processes.

She originally started at Pilgrim in 1999 as a practice professional development nurse until 2001.

She was brought in to Pilgrim three years ago and has since helped take the hospital out of special measures, dealt with high pressure periods known as ‘black alerts’ over winter and two ‘major incidents’.

Her role has included being the deputy director of urgent care, ensuring patients get through the service as quickly, safely and efficiently as they can.

Mrs White had to help the hospital prepare for the floods of 2013, which could have meant moving services such as accident and emergency to the second floor.

She said: “We saw all the services come in with bottled water and plans. For one moment I thought ‘oh my god’ but it was really quiet and so well organised it felt calm.

“It wasn’t just our major incident though, that was system-wide - it was police and other services who were co-ordinating it, we were just part of it and experiencing a major incident at a different level was fascinating.”

During the floods generators were brought on site in case of power loss.

The second major incident was a ‘quite substantial’ fire that put some services out of action for a few days.

Mrs White officially left the trust in December. She is not being replaced like-for-like - with her role being split into two.

Kevin Turner, deputy chief executive, said: “We would all like to say thank you to Tina for going above and beyond and for all of her hard work supporting Pilgrim Hospital, her dedication to our patients and being a fantastic colleague and leader.

“We wish her the very best for a well-earned and happy retirement.”