When senior dietitian Christine Christie retired recently after more than 35 years in NHS Forth Valley, she not only left with good wishes from colleagues but also the British Dietitian Association (BDA) Mary Turner Award for trade union representative of the year.
Christine was nominated by the membership of the BDA’s Scottish Employee Relations Committee for her work to represent NHS Forth Valley dietitians for more than three decades. Named in memory of a former BDA president, the Mary Turner award thanks a representative who has demonstrated the qualities of excellence and commitment.
She said: “It was an absolute honour to be nominated and I had zero expectation of winning the award, knowing the high calibre of previous recipients. So, I was utterly amazed when I saw on social media that I had won the award. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the award ceremony in Birmingham as I had Covid-19.”
Christine joined NHS Forth Valley’s Dietetic Department in 1987 as a 6-week locum basic grade dietitian based at the former Falkirk & District Royal Infirmary, one of only three dietitians in the team at that time. Over the years the team has grown to more than 20 dietitians and three dietetic assistants, plus administrator Louise in the team based at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
During her long career, Christine wore several ‘hats’ – as well as being the BDA trade union representative, she was also the dietetic clinical lead for the renal dietetic service and provided the dietetic service to Dr Kirsty Abu Rajab’s HIV clinic based at Falkirk Community Hospital. Since 2009, she was a nutrition champion for NHS Forth Valley, working alongside “some fantastic nurses” including Sister Ann Myles, then Staff Nurse, Pamela Anderson and Senior Charge Nurse, Yvonne Cairns, to ensure the nutritional care and hospital food provided to local patients met a range of national standards.
Christine was also passionate about student training and had been the Practice Education Lead for dietetics in NHS Forth Valley for the past two decades plus. All this, she says, while she was meant to be part time!