A trip to the hospital, whether as a patient or a visitor to see someone being treated, is very rarely an enjoyable experience, WHICH is why a warm welcome can be so important.
You may feel on edge or upset so a nice smile can go a long way to easing any concerns.
For anyone who has been to University Hospital Lewisham over the last four decades and has felt that way, there is a very good chance the person who helped you feel a bite more at ease was Philomena McElroy.
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Philomena has worked at the hospital, on Lewisham High Street, for 35 years. It is her job is to keep the outside of the hospital clean, and is often the first person people see when entering the premises.
After all her work over the years, Philomena has won the hospital’s September employee of the month award.
(Image: Lewisham Hospital)
She was nominated by Bob Jeffrey, carpenter in the hospital’s estates and facilities department, who praised Philomena for being a “ray of sunshine for everybody visiting or working at the hospital”.
“She is in charge of keeping the outside of the hospital clean and tidy, but she does so much more,” he said.
“She is often the first person who people see when visiting the hospital, greets everybody with a fantastic smile and she is always willing to help people around the hospital.”
Mr Jeffrey added that he admires Philomena’s attention to detail when doing her job.
And he added how he once watched her “sweeping around the back of the bike racks where nobody really sees, and she was so diligent and would not leave this area until it was spotless.”
Ms McElroy said: “This is an amazing surprise.
“I’ve worked at University Hospital Lewisham for 35 years, loved every moment and I feel very lucky to work with some wonderful people.”
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Philomena is also renowned for working in her own time to make an “enchanted garden” for kids to play in.
Mathew Shaw, Operations Manager at Healthwatch Lewisham, who chaired this month’s judging panel commented: “We chose Philomena due to her dedication in creating a positive and clean environment for patients and visitors at University Hospital Lewisham.
“Colleagues describe her as always having a smile on her face and willing to help direct patients around the site.
“She routinely goes above and beyond, which is best demonstrated by her volunteering to help create the enchanted garden for the enjoyment of younger patients.”