West Suffolk Hospital welcomes Jo Churchill MP to declare new staff accommodation in Bury St Edmunds officially open
Staff at West Suffolk Hospital gathered for a special celebration this afternoon as their new on-site accommodation was officially declared open.
Three new blocks of flats have been opened behind the hospital, which will provide accommodation for medical students, junior doctors and other workers.
Each block is made up of 40 four-bedroom flats, each of which has a communal dining area. Each bedroom also has an ensuite bathroom.
The £12million buildings were also given a personal touch, having been named after three long-serving staff members - Nigel Beeton, Jan Bloomfield and John Clark.
Describing the complex as the hospital's 'own BBC', chief executive Steve Dunn said: "As the buildings were being put up we had to start to think about naming them.
"We wanted this new accommodation to be there to support our present staff and our future staff because it's our staff that are so important to delivering all our outcomes.
"It therefore felt appropriate to name them after Nigel, John and Jan."
Nigel started work at the hospital as a radiographer in 1983 and 36 years later is now the imaging services manager.
"With a lot of support from other people, we have made a lot of changes in that time in the radiography department of which I'm very proud," said Nigel.
"They have all been made for the benefits of our patients and we have had the whole lot checked over by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service which said that it's as safe as we can make it."
He added: "If that means I've done enough to have a building named after me then I'm honoured."
And John Clark, consultant physician in diabetes and endocrinology, also said the dedication was 'touching'.
"It's really kind of them and I'm quite overwhelmed by it," said John, who joined the hospital in 1992.
For the last 20 years, he has been involved with the University of Cambridge graduate course in medicine and was made director 10 years ago.
"I'm very pleased because we've been trying to expand the medical student course and it has doubled from 20 to 40 since September," he said.
"My building will particularly focus on housing those students which is excellent."
Jan Bloomfield, who until retiring in April was the executive director of personnel at the hospital, was not able to attend the ceremony due to illness.
Paying tribute to her, Steve Dunn said: "Jan has spent 37 years in the NHS which is a phenomenal commitment to serving patients over a long period of time.
"She established one of the best HR teams, she established our trust values in 2008 which we continue to live and she established a five year strategy which we are just coming to the end of now.
"Jan also helped found the My Wish Chairty which has gone from strength to strength and she's going to continue to be an ambassador for that charity.
"She's been an absolute legend and we wish her all the best and hope she gets well soon."
The buildings were officially declared open by Jo Churchill MP this afternoon.
"By having this fabulous accommodation, we can encourage other people to enter one of the best professions in the world and give back to them," she said.