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Slicing PDH

Slicing PDH

An absolute treat...

Working in a hospital urgent care centre during a pandemic can be tough, but a special weekly sweet treat has helped to boost morale at Portland District Health.

When the virus hit the community earlier this year, Urgent Care Centre nurse unit manager Deb Tozer asked her sister Jen Garner to bake some slices to cheer up staff.

That one-off suggestion has turned into a weekly ritual which is being appreciated as much by the staff as it is by the baker.

The regular arrival of slices is now known as `Auntie Jen’s day’.

Ms Garner said she loves to spread joy. “I love cooking and making slices. I usually give them to all the family and don’t keep much, but I could see the nurses appreciated it and looked forward to it so I decided to continue,” she said.

“I do it because I love it and if I can put a smile on someone’s face, it’s all worth it.”

Ms Garner is no stranger to PDH. A number of years ago, she had 33 stays in hospital over a three-year period to deal with serious asthma attacks, that are now under control.

She operated a food shop when she came to Portland 30 years ago and then worked in childcare, starting a creche and after school care at the YMCA.

Now retired, Ms Garner still loves cooking and baking but doesn’t necessarily follow recipes. “I kinda make them up,” she said. “I do a few from the books but I like to make them up from different things.”

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Peppermint balls, jelly slices and liquorice slices are some of the most popular treats.

While taking a break over Christmas to make slices for nephews and nieces, Ms Garner will resume in early 2021.

For the staff at the Urgent Care Centre, the weekly treats have been something to treasure.

“It was an idea to keep up staff morale,” Ms Tozer said.

“We knew we were going to be isolating and sweating it out in PPE with COVID. On some tough days in the midst of it all, the slices were something special. The staff really appreciate it.”

Ms Tozer said the pandemic had been a challenging time for staff. “COVID has been difficult for staff but the community has been fantastic and understanding of the necessary processes we have put in place to enable a safe environment for everyone. Staff will continue to remain on alert at all times in regards to COVID 19 and are mindful that whilst there are no current cases, the potential is always there.”

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