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Monklands plaster cast technician awarded MBE

Written by Fiona Snedden.
Published at 12:29 GMT on Friday, June 21st, 2013.

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A plaster cast technician from Monklands Hospital has been awarded with a prestigious MBE as part of the Queen’s birthday honours list.

NHS Lanarkshire’s John Mooney was surprised to find out that he was to receive the MBE in recognition for his services to orthopaedics.

John said: “I received a letter through the post marked ‘her majesty’s services’. Since I have retired, I thought it must be my tax return or something. So, when I opened it up and realised what it was I thought someone must be at it!

“About a year ago, my manager had mentioned that she was going to put me forward for an MBE, but I thought nothing else of it at the time. This is an honour; I cannot believe that this is happening to me.”

Through his own efforts, John drove forward his own professional development by obtaining qualifications in his field.

John said: “When I started out in the health services, I worked as a porter in casualty. I had no qualifications at that time. By the time I came to Monklands Hospital, I had studied at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore and attained The British Orthopaedic Certificate in casting.

“At Monklands, my boss Cathy Cherrie has been brilliant at letting me do my own thing with regards to my education. She has been really supportive of me and has allowed me time to attend different courses that I thought would help my development.

“Her support has allowed me to travel all over the world learning the best techniques for plaster rooms. I have been to Mexico, New York, Paris, Belgium and New Orleans on behalf of the Association of Orthopaedic Technicians, attending training courses, going to conferences and doing demonstrations of my work.”

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While working on his personal achievements, John set his sights on furthering his profession nationally and was involved in establishing the Association of Orthopaedic Technicians, which he later became chairman of.

His work with the association helped ensure that all staff working in casting rooms must hold the British Casting Certificate. This meant that all candidates must complete the British Casting Examination, which saw John helping to develop the British Casting Course at Glasgow Caledonian University.

John said: “It is the very first course that was created for those who don’t have qualifications in casting. I now run the course and have trained staff in every hospital from across Scotland. The standards taught at Caledonian have now been accepted as gold standard and diploma accreditation is now being awarded to all staff completing the casting course.

“Patients are my priority. I want to provide a good service to them and I strive to make sure that all staff are well trained to treat them. Sometimes they don’t get the recognition that they deserve, so getting them to university is vital.”

Although John has now retired, he continues to work at Monklands Hospital as part of the staff bank, which allows him to keep up to date with the latest developments in his field so that he can teach them at the university.

John was nominated for the MBE by his manager Cathy Cherrie.

Speaking of the nomination, Cathy said: “John is a very quiet, self-effacing, hard working and gentle man. He offers his time willingly and freely. John entered the service with no qualifications and has overcome many trials to achieve his vision. I can think of no better person to be recognised by his country for a lifetime of giving.”

John added: “Receiving the MBE will be a massive thing for me and the department. I have the best manager in the world, she is the main stepping stone for helping me on my way with my personal and professional development.

“Working in the casting room is the best job in the world. Patients can be in a cast for a long time due to some nasty injuries or breaks, but I get to see them improving and recovering.”

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