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Elizabeth Mackie

elizabeth

Elizabeth has worked for or with the NHS for more than 40 years. Her full-time job is with Healthwatch East Sussex, the independent health and social care watchdog for people who use NHS and care services. She has been with the organisation for almost eight years and works as its volunteer and community liaison manager. 

Before the pandemic, in her spare time, Elizabeth volunteered as an independent custody visitor for Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, undertaking unannounced welfare checks on custody detainees. When COVID-19 struck, the visits were paused. 

She has filled the gap in her schedule by volunteering at the Trust’s Welcome Building vaccination centre in Eastbourne, having initially supported its counterpart in Etchingham. 

“When the call came for volunteers to support the vaccination programme, I was super-keen to be involved,” says Elizabeth. 

“I also work with a fantastic team of volunteers with lots of transferable skills who could also assist; so, we put the call out to our staff and volunteers.” 

Elizabeth and five colleagues, including four volunteers, answered the call. 

“It’s really great to be able to ‘welcome’ people when they arrive for their vaccination,” she says. “Some are anxious; most, however, are so relieved to be able to have the vaccine as it brings hope and light at the end of the tunnel from this dreadful year. 

“It is so uplifting to be able see the joy and relief on people’s faces. I am also very proud to get to wear the coveted NHS volunteer high-vis vest. I am just as proud of this as I was the first day I donned my nurse’s uniform in 1974!” 

Despite the hardship of the previous 12 months, Elizabeth is optimistic about the future. 

“I am most looking forward to seeing lots of positive change happen not only from within the NHS and social care, but within society as a whole, in the hope that policy and decision-makers really do learn from all the pain, suffering and heartache endured by so many during this pandemic,” she says.