Today we had the opportunity to speak to Ann Murphy, who is the Ophthalmology Waiting List Coordinator for West Hertfordshire Hospital and is based at St Albans. Ann is a key member of the administration team at the Trust. As part of Ann’s role she ensures accuracy of waiting lists and plans patient activity to minimise waiting times and ensure the best use of resources.
Can you please tell me a little more about your role and for how long you have been in this role?
I've been in my current role as Ophthalmology waiting list coordinator for about five years, and during this time I have seen so much positive change. I have actually been at this Trust and in the NHS for 42 years. So, during this time you can imagine how much change I have seen!
Was there a defining moment that you decided you wanted to be in healthcare?
I actually wanted to be a nurse, I joined the Trust when I was 17, and started off in a clerical role, but the thought of wearing a mask back then actually put me off, obviously this was pre-COVID times. How times have changed and wearing masks is now part of our daily routine, I guess I have got used to them now!
How has technology helped you in your role at the Trust?
Well, when I first joined the NHS, all those years ago, we had something called a ‘fish fryer’, basically this was a ledger style system, where everything was put on cards, including our admissions. We logged all patient information in the ledger. So it was very paper oriented, we only had to lose a single piece of card to lose all historic patient information! All patient records and case files lived in the records library, and each patient file had a cardboard divider. Each time we took the notes, we would write the date and where the notes were being taken to on the divider. If this got misfiled there was no way of finding patient files. This was way before technology had an important role to play. Then we moved to a computer system, where everything was put onto a database. I found that enthralling, when we first got that I loved it, it was great.
I think that technology and anything that moves us forward is a good idea, I don't think going backwards is ever a good idea, clearly there has to be change to take things forward in any kind of respect with a big organisation such as the Trust. So I think you should take technology as far as you can take it. I am a firm believer in that, I know it is always going to be much more work, there is always going to be something you have to learn, there is usually a benefit at the end of it. So I think moving forward technology is fine, keep going with it all.
It was an absolute pleasure to sit down and chat with Ann, and we would like to thank her for her time and all hard work she does for the NHS!