Moira – friendly voice of hospital for 40 years

Moira Calnon SUS-141218-133118001
Moira Calnon SUS-141218-133118001

A switchboard operator is celebrating four decades of working at East Surrey Hospital.

Moira Calnon, of Bewbush, has been the friendly voice at the end of the line since the 1970s and is often the first point of contact for people making enquiries to the hospital.

Moira, 61, said she stumbled into her career somewhat by accident after some one heard her answer a telephone and thought her voice sounded great.

A period of training following in London’s Fleet Street, before she returned to what used to be the Redhill General Hospital to start work.

Her desk was at an old fashioned plug switchboard in the porter’s lodge – a far cry from the technology used at East Surrey today.

When East Surrey Hospital was built 30 years ago, Moira took her switchboard skills to the new location.

She spent the first six months setting up the switchboard system at the hospital and making sure it was running to the highest standard.

Describing her time as the friendly voice at the end of the telephone, Moira said: “There have been a lot of changes over the years.

“It’s all computerised today and much quicker.”

As for her reasons for staying in the role for so long, the answer was simple.

Moira added: “I love my job. I am quite shy but when I am talking on the phone it’s easier and it’s really nice to be able to help people.”

For the past 25 years, Moira has been working the night shifts at the hospital, which is run by the Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

As such, she has had to have her wits about her when dealing with calls.

She said: “It’s always interesting because you never know what someone on the end of the phone will ask you.”

Like the huge majority of people who work in the healthcare industry, Moira has show a passion for her role.

She said: “It really is a very worthwhile and interesting job.”