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Heroes of the RUH – Heather O’Callaghan

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Meet Heather O’Callaghan, who has worked in the supplies department at the Royal United Hospitals Bath for almost 40 years.

Probably one of the highlights of my life was being chosen to go to Buckingham Palace in recognition of my long service. It was a great day out, though the only downside was I had to wear a dress that I hated – I’ve never worn it since! 

There are so many jobs in the hospital that go on in the background, not just the high-profile clinical roles. A hospital can only work properly when all services, from cleaners to consultants work together as a team. We are all important in making sure our patients are cared for. I believe we all make a difference each and every day.  

I have seen many changes over the years – good, bad, happy and sad. I’ve met some wonderful people, many of whom have remained very much part of my life – we all have that connection of RUH which has been the foundation of some very loyal and the best of friendships. In fact, on the day before my wedding I was the only person in the office as all the others were doing the catering for the big day! 

I started working at the RUH way back in 1981. I lost my first job at the age of 20, and my parents insisted I found something to tide me over. A neighbour told me about a temporary role for a month to help with filing in the Supplies department at the RUH 

I’m not going to lie – I didn’t enjoy it. But just as I was heading out the door I was asked to apply for another temporary role as a bookingin clerk. I found it much more fun than filing and learned a lot from my colleagues. Every couple of months my contract would be extended for a bit longer and I’ve been here ever since! 

Apart from that first month of filing I have never been bored and each day presents something new which is probably why I am still here. The biggest impact of COVID for me personally was not being able to visit my Mum in her care home. She went from family visiting her regularly to not seeing them for seven months.  It’s so upsetting as she has deteriorated so much during that timeCOVID has a lot to answer for.  I’m not much of a hugger, but when this is over, I’m going to give her the biggest hug ever!   

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