Staff from the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust gathered at a special party at Fieldhead, Wakefield, to celebrate human resources manager Peter Burtoft’s 50 years of service with the NHS.
Peter, who lives in Doncaster, started his career in Sheffield in 1959 when he joined the finance training scheme at Nether Edge Hospital, but has been working for the Trust, which provides specialist mental health and learning disability services to people across Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield, since 2004.
To celebrate his fantastic achievement his colleagues threw him a surprise lunch and presented him with a certificate to mark the special occasion.
Peter, 67, said: "I was blown away! It came as a complete surprise. The certificate will take pride of place in my house and will remind me of all my enjoyable years in the NHS."
Peter’s career began after leaving school and he started work learning the ropes with Sheffield No 1 Hospital Management Committee.
After 13 years with the committee during which time he moved into Payroll Services and worked on one of the first NHS Payroll computer systems. But one of his biggest challenges came during the winter of discontent when trade unions went on strike for 13 weeks.
During this time Peter helped smuggle dirty laundry out of the hospital and get clean laundry back in for patients and undertook duties on the hospitals A&E department and was often forced to remain in the hospital 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
But after more than 40 years and working through many changes Peter decided to call it a day and retired in 2003.
However, 6 weeks later he was finding the transition difficult to cope with and was ready to get back to work.
Peter said; "I’ve had direct contact with people since I was 17 and stopping work and being away from that environment drove me up the wall. I spoke to my wife and we both decide I should go back, so I did."
Alan Davis, director of human resources at Fieldhead, offered Peter a temporary opportunity with the Trust in 2004 and five years later he’s still here and has no intention of turning his back on HR just yet.
HR business partner Kate Redican, a colleague of Peter’s said; "When Peter joined the Trust, he brought with him a wealth of experience and expertise. Those together with his natural warmth and sense of humour, make it a pleasure to work with him. He is very much valued and respected by his colleagues and the service managers he supports. 50 years is a fantastic achievement!"
Peter added; "I’m still enjoying it and like sitting down with managers and staff resolving problems. My main aim is to continue to ensure that patients come first and staff a good second."