A ‘man in a million’ was handed the Guardian Rose award as he made an emotional farewell to colleagues at Bassetlaw Hospital children’s ward.
Dr Henry Mulenga has recently left his post as consultant paediatrician and is preparing to embark on a new challenge - in Africa.
On 1st May he will take up the role of senior consultant paediatrician at Nchanga South Hospital in Chingola, Zambia.
“I hope my 20 years of experience here will stand me in good stead for my new job,” said Dr Mulenga, 62.
“I have had a fantastic time here. I have learned a lot and I appreciate all of the relationships and friendships I have made with my patients and colleagues over the years.”
Dr Mulenga has just completed a doctorate in professional studies and hopes to implement his research findings in his new role.
“It involved using midwives in the maternity ward to do some of the work normally assigned to a junior doctor, creating a reduction in junior doctors’ hours,” Dr Mulenga explained.
“I hope to be able to put that into practice, and perhaps it will be adopted back here in Bassetlaw.”
Dr Mulenga was nominated for the rose award by Geoff Coe who has built a friendship with the doctor over the years.
Said Dr Mulenga: “I met Geoff in the hospital corridor and he started asking about me and we got talking.”
“Then another time Geoff was campaigning door-to-door and he came to my house just by chance.”
“I have always got on with him and I thought his views were very noble.”
“I want to thank him very much for doing this. It was a huge surprise.”
Geoff said he wanted to thank Dr Mulenga for his years of hard work on behalf of the Bassetlaw community.
“Every time I come to this hospital we seem to find one another,” said Geoff, 85.
“His face never changes - he always carries a big smile. He is a man in a million.”
While Geoff has never been a patient of Dr Mulenga’s, he has much to thank staff at Bassetlaw Hospital for.
“Last year I had a serious heart scare and the nurses here brought me back to life,” he explained.
“If I had been royalty I could not have been served any better. Whoever comes into this hospital they get the VIP treatment.”
The Guardian Rose presentation was a chance for Dr Mulenga to say a final farewell to his colleagues, and to Geoff.
He said: “One of the most beautiful things it that I have been most lucky to have worked with the best colleagues you could ever ask for.”
“I wish them all the best. I know we will keep in touch and hopefully I will come back to my home town of Worksop in the future.”
A Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals spokesman said: “We are sorry to see Dr Mulenga leave the trust but wish him all the best for the future.”
“Dr Mulenga was very experienced and much respected, especially in Retford and Worksop areas, where he worked for many years.”