Retirement at last for Chris – after nine-month pandemic delay
Tuesday 16 March 2021
A highly regarded member of the CCG’s senior team finally starts a well-deserved retirement this week, after he delayed it by nine months to help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trained as a nurse in Hartlepool in the 1970s, Chris Piercy worked in surgical wards, intensive care units and A&Es across the North East and in Birmingham, before moving into management roles in the 1990s.
As Executive Director of Nursing, Patient Safety and Quality for Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group since its inception in 2013, Chris has been responsible for ensuring high standards of care in local hospitals, as well as helping to plan and design many of our local services.
By this time last year, he was within three months of retirement – but the fates had other plans, as Chris and many other colleagues rallied round when Newcastle’s first Covid-19 case was confirmed on 4 March 2020.
Rather than taking a well-earned rest, Chris offered to continue his role as a senior director – as well as finding himself back in his scrubs for the first time in years. Once the vaccine effort got underway in December, Chris began spending evenings and weekends working on the front line at Gateshead’s vaccine centres in Blaydon and Rawling Road in Bensham, as well as Newcastle Racecourse and the Newcastle Eagles Basketball arena.
“It’s so worthwhile, I just feel I’ve got to do it,” he explains. “It’s a privilege, it really is humbling when you see how grateful people are. I carry out clinical risk assessments, to make sure it’s safe for each patient, as well as actually giving patients the vaccine.
“So many people have dropped everything to help out – from retired people coming back to work, to current staff doing long hours on top of the day job, and volunteers coming forward to help out. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of.”
Now 65, Chris is finally retiring this week – but leaving the day job won’t stop him from helping with the vaccine effort any time soon.
“I’ve got mixed feelings,” he says. “I’m really looking forward to time with my family, but I will miss the work I do. I’ve vaccinated over a thousand people already and I’ll continue helping with the vaccine programme. It really is a pleasure; it’s not a chore – not one bit!”
Dr Mark Dornan, a Gateshead GP and one of the clinical chairs at NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Over the past difficult year, so many people in health and care have been an inspiration, working incredible hours and making great personal sacrifices. Chris is a fantastic example of that spirit.
“Chris’s professionalism, commitment and caring nature are an example for all of us working to provide the best possible healthcare in Gateshead and Newcastle. We all wish Chris a long and happy retirement – though we can still expect to see him around our local vaccine centres for a while yet!”