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Hi, I’m Val Robertson, and I work as a Health Care Assistant at JHP. I’ve worked in General Practice since 2004 and now am in semi-retirement, working one day a week either at No 17 or No 200.

Each day is normally a combination of my main tasks as an HCA – seeing patients, doing tests or taking samples. If you need a blood test or a dressing, then it will most likely be me or Carol you’ll be booked into to see. 

We do regular monitoring like taking blood pressure and tests such as ECGs. Electrocardiograms – or ECGs for short – help us check your hearts rhythm and activity. This is when some sensors are stuck to your skin to detect the electrical signals your heart makes when it beats. Despite its slightly intimidating name, it’s a pretty simple test.

My appointment book always has patients I see regularly. Often their medication means they need to have their blood tested at frequent intervals, so we get to know each other fairly well after a few visits. Having blood taken can make people a bit nervous, and I always think it helps when patients see a familiar face.

Another of our daily responsibilities is doing NHS Health Checks, which are paused at the moment because of COVID-19.

If you don’t know, NHS Health Checks are regular reviews with people aged 40-74 who are generally in good health and don’t have any pre-existing conditions. 

The checks help us spot any early signs of a stroke, dementia, diabetes or kidney or heart disease. As we get older, we’re at greater risk and the checks help us identify changes you can make to lower those risks. It’s about focussing on prevention rather than cure.

We work closely as a nursing team in supporting each other. Our work as HCAs enables the rest of the team to work with patients on more specialised health reviews. 

I love working with all the team here at JHP – we’re like a little family!

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