A lot of bottle for care – Keith is our NHS Hero

As a milkman for over 22 years, Keith Fletcher (68) enjoyed his daily rounds, but since swapping his float for a career in the NHS, instead of milk, he’s delivering outstanding healthcare.

Keith’s commitment to patients has seen him spend 27 years at Bushey Fields Hospital, which is managed by Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Trust.

On deciding to change his career path, Keith was keen to land a role within a caring profession in the hope of making a real difference to people’s lives – so his role as a nursing assistant on Holyrood Ward, where he looks after older people with dementia was a great fit.

“I always wanted a job which involved helping to care for others,” said Keith.

“My sister has cerebral palsy so it was difficult growing up because I had to watch her struggle a lot and it made me really want to help make a difference.”

Keith’s NHS career began when he joined the staff bank where he used to pick up any shifts which fitted around his milk rounds. He did this for nine months before securing a permanent role on his favourite ward, Holyrood.

A typical nursing assistant shift takes place between 7am and 3pm or 1pm and 9pm, five days a week, but that does not exclude weekends which is the time you will often find Keith working.

He provides personal care for patients and often helps with activities to brighten up everyone’s day on the ward.

“I have been a nursing assistant for 27 years now and although I could retire at any time, I just don’t want to.

“I love my job so much – I just wish I would have taken this route straight from school.”

Keith continued: “Coming to work is a pleasure, I love how I have such a good relationship with all my colleagues and when I’m not at work, I really do miss it.

“It’s not just my colleagues that make it special though, it’s also the patients, even just receiving a smile from a patient really does make my day.”

Outside of work, Keith is married and has three daughters and three granddaughters. When he manages to find some time for himself, you can guarantee he will be at Molineux Stadium as he is a season ticket holder and long life fan of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

So who would Keith say is his hero?

“My hero is ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers football player John Richards.

“I just remember him when I was growing up because not only was he a fantastic football player, he seemed to have such a lovely manner and that always sticks with you when someone is so nice.”

Keith’s mental health message: “If you’re ever experiencing issues, please talk to someone, whether it’s a friend, a family member or a colleague, there is always someone willing to listen.”