Goodbye to devoted nurse who gave 41 years to NHS – but wanted to be a vet

11 October 2019

The local NHS has said farewell to a nurse whose 41 year career started with sick babies and ended with helping meet the needs of elderly patients with dementia.

Angela Knight has retired from her final role as Director – Integrated Commissioning & Clinical Assessment at NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) where she led the team responsible for delivering Continuing Health Care funding including patients requiring specialist care for dementia patients.

She joined the NHS as a nursing auxillary in July 1978 after her A Level grades meant she could not pursue her preferred career as a vet.

She said: ‘I was going to repeat my A Level year but my mother, being very strict, decided I wasn’t going to mess around, and said I should get a job. A lot of my friends were going off to work as nurses so I went up to the hospital – Walsall Manor Hospital – to see if there was anything going. I started on a ward with 30 beds a few days later, with no induction and no training. In the first week I fainted, but then I got used to it.’

One of the highlights of Angela’s career was a visit by the late Princess Diana who visited Sheffield Childrens’ Hospital while Angela was Nursing Officer/Assistant Matron. Princess Diana visited to open the new Intensive Care Unit.

Angela joined the former west Kent PCT in 2007. She said: ‘The NHS works by reinventing itself the whole time. It’s hard work, but I would recommend nursing as a profession, not as a job.’

In retirement, Angela plans to move with her two beloved dogs and cat to the west country to be nearer to her family.  She promises herself she will reignite her passion for painting which has taken a back seat during her working life.

Colleagues saw Angela off in style at a goodbye celebration event, where she was presented with gifts and flowers and a fun, farewell song.

Paula Wilkins, Chief Nurse at the CCG, said: ‘Angela has had an amazing career in the NHS. She has always shown considerable compassion for the patients and families she has worked with at difficult times in their lives, whether they were parents of a sick baby or the family of an elderly patient living with dementia. All her colleagues in the NHS will miss her and wish her well.’