A COUNCILLOR who beat cancer in 2016, has shared her experience of working for the NHS, to mark the celebrations of the 70th birthday of the NHS.

Lynn Denham, who many may remember as her former name, Lynn Takavarasha worked for the NHS from 1976 to 2010.

Councillor Denham said: “I started off as a pre-registration pharmacist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, then qualified as a pharmacist.

"I was supported by the NHS to do an MA in Pharmaceutical sciences and later, an MBA.”

Cllr Denham came to Worcester in 1989 to work as a pharmacist at Ronkswood Hospital.

She said: “Many will remember it was a series of portable buildings in desperate need of funding. Facilities were falling apart. When I first came to Worcester there was a separate eye hospital in Barbourne.

"The Castle Street Hospital, now the University site, in 1989, was for surgical services, including operations for children. It was separate from the medical services at Ronkswood which was maternity and paediatrics. Each place had their own pharmacy.”

In 2016 Cllr Denham had major surgery for bowel cancer.

She said: “I am eternally grateful to the NHS. The NHS requires investment and support. It is an amazing service, the people who work as part of it do an amazing job.”

After working as a pharmacist, Cllr Denham became interested in the management side of medicine and started managing the children and women’s services.

When she first started, Cllr Denham said people were waiting for operations for over 18 months.

She said: “My first job was to try and reduce waiting times. When Labour came into power under Blair, they made health a priority. Under Margaret Thatcher, there had been no funding. At the end of the 1990s, nobody was waiting more than 12 months.”

Cllr Denham, who lives in Worcester, became a councillor in 2011 after disagreeing with NHS reorganisations implemented by the coalition government in 2010.

She said: “It was the wrong thing to do and hasn’t helped or reduced the stress they are under.”