A remarkable ride
After 52 years, theatre stalwart Derric Ashworth's career at Concord comes to a close
After 52 years of service at Concord Hospital, Derric Ashworth is hanging up his well-worn boots.
For many staff across the Concord campus, life won’t be the same without a morning greeting from Derric, who considers the hospital and its people his “family”.
Derric, 73, who is likely the longest serving employee in Sydney Local Health District, commenced at Concord on 19 April 1967 as a hospital runner. After one day he transferred to theatres to work as an operating assistant, a position he held for the next 20 years before moving into theatre supplies.
At least 77 staff members across the District have racked up more than 40 years’ service, but Derric’s 52.2 years is a record unlikely to be broken anytime soon.
Derric has made the job of supporting the operating theatres his own, with an enviable network of contacts across the system and the unrivalled ability to source an urgently needed item.
Concord’s Director of Burns Associate Professor Peter Heartsch, was full of praise for Derric.
“He knows the running of the hospital and he is a stickler for routine and fastidious in everything he does,” he said.
Michelle Skrivanic, Concord Hospital’s Nurse Manager for Perioperative Services, has known Derric for 25 years and says he always has the inside scoop on what’s going on around the campus.
“He’s been here so long that everyone knows him, he chats to everyone and he knows everything that’s going on… he’s our eyes and ears in the hospital,” Michelle said.
“Derric’s always on top of the arrival of products and when we were desperate for an order to arrive, he would be able to find it somewhere in the supply chain.”
Sally Lockhart, Clinical Nurse Consultant and a long-time colleague agreed. “If Derric didn’t know about it, then it didn’t happen,” Sally said.
Derric served in the Vietnam War for about a year as a driver on the supply line and every Anzac Day he proudly marches.
A mad sports fan, Derric took his annual leave to coincide with the annual Wimbledon Championships, Tour De France, and the football World Cup every four years, although he’d still find an excuse to pop into the hospital during his holidays to see his “Concord family”.
He plans to enjoy his retirement watching plenty of sport and following the races. Many staff have benefited from his handy tips on the horses as he knows virtually everything there is to know about racing.
Derric had vowed to retire if he ever had to use a computer, but he embraced the introduction of handheld mobile scanning technology and clinical barcoding to record items when they arrive in the perioperative department.
Known for hardly ever taking a sick day, he will retire with 76 weeks - or one and a half years - sick leave accrued.
In February 2018 Derric received a standing ovation from his peers and was presented with a crystal plaque by then-General Manager Dr Tim Sinclair to acknowledge 50 years continuous service. This week he will be farewelled by his operating theatre colleagues with an afternoon tea and few yarns.
His departure coincides with the demolition of Concord’s iconic tennis courts, which are making way for the hospital’s stage 1 redevelopment.
“While he will be a huge loss to our department, it is also an exciting time in his life to do more of what he loves, watching sport, especially the Tour de France and Wimbledon,” Michelle said.
All Concord staff are invited to bid Derric a fond farewell in the Perioperative Department tea room on Thursday May 30 at 2pm.