After 26 years of working in Calderdale health services, Steve McDonnell is retiring from his post as general manager of the mental health directorate in Calderdale for the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust. Steve retires today (28 March).
Steve is originally from Durham and has worked in the health service since he left school, starting as a cadet and then becoming a student nurse. He worked as staff nurse before he moved back into mental health nursing. As a mental health charge nurse, Steve spent time in acute services, rehabilitation and worked as head of group therapy.
Steve’s career in management began when a colleague broke his back whilst out walking, which led to Steve taking up his management responsibilities. ‘Getting into management was an accident really’ quipped Steve during his presentation. He completed management courses at Teeside and Newcastle Polytechnic (now the University), and then worked as a commissioning officer at Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry.
Steve took ‘time out’ in the mid 70’s to travel Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In 1977 he arrived in Calderdale and has been there ever since taking on several roles including nursing officer, service manager and chief nurse. In 2001 Steve was involved in closing Northowram Hospital and opening The Dales Unit, based at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
During his presentation, Judith Young, chief executive of the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust, said, ‘Steve has been an absolute rock in Calderdale over the years and he’s going to be greatly missed. He has been a strong and steady man who has kept the values of the services in his heart and upheld the best public service standards over the many years he has worked in Calderdale’.
Steve said, ‘I’d like to thank all the people I have worked with over the years. I originally came to Calderdale for just two years but have ended up staying for 26, it’s a hard place to leave! I’m looking forward to having some free time for myself and with my family, the time for me is right’.
Steve has recently taken up skiing and plans to visit France in April, then in May he will travel in the USA. Steve will continue to coach junior football to under 15’s and is also Secretary of Ryburn United – so he’ll have plenty to keep him busy during his retirement!