A NURSE who has worked in York's busy emergency department for much of her career has retired after marking her 70th birthday.

Pat Barker, of Huntington, has decided to step back from the busy environment of A&E and take it easy after 43 years with the NHS.

As a senior member of the triage team, Pat worked on the frontline at York Hospital, assessing patients as they came into the department.

Pat said: “I’ve had a great send-off and I’ll really miss my colleagues and the companionship of such a great team. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my job, every bit of it, and it’s been an interesting journey.

"Over the years a nurse’s job has become a lot busier and the public have much higher expectations from the NHS. The way people use A&E has changed and there is much more demand on services nowadays.

"Mentally I don’t feel old enough to retire but working in A&E is physically very demanding, and it is a rapidly changing environment which can be stressful at times so it will be nice to have a bit more time to myself.”

Pat’s first job was washing up on one of the wards where she moved on to become a healthcare assistant, progressing through the ranks to become a staff nurse.

Jill Wilford, matron for the emergency department, said: “Pat will be missed by colleagues and patients alike. She is well-known to local patients some of whom she has treated three generations over the years. Pat is everything a good nurse should be – courteous, kind and firm when necessary – yet able to cope magnificently with the demands of a very busy and dynamic environment in A&E. Her wealth of experience has been invaluable to the department and we will never forget her.”

Pat said she is now looking forward to a holiday and is planning to take up night classes and doing some volunteering.