OHFT Membership Matters November 2022

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Saving lives, changing lives - Bala’s inspiring career

After a varied career of nearly 50 years in the NHS and a string of qualifications to his name, nurse Bala Moddia is finally planning to retire for good. Unless, of course, he carries on acting as a mentor for the younger generation, a role he has performed for decades now along his other assignments. Bala grew up in Malaysia and was inspired to become a nurse seeing his mother care for people of all ages in their village. “She was a very caring person and lots of people came to her with all kinds of ailments. She cared for them using traditional South Indian medicine which she had learned from her father. She never charged anyone. It was embedded in me to look for a profession doing something like what she was doing. “So, I applied to the Windsor School of Nursing – just by correspondence. In those days there were no interviews. And in May 1975 I arrived in Windsor and started my nursing career at King Edward the VII Hospital and Wexham Park Hospital in Slough,” Bala tells. And what a career it has been! Along the years, Bala has qualified in general nursing as well as mental health and learning disability nursing, done a master’s degree in Medical Science and gained a doctorate specialising in epilepsy. He has worked across a great range of disciplines – from A&E to eating disorders – but most of all with people with a learning disability. “I was working in orthopaedics when I had

a patient with Downs Syndrome, and she was just so lovely. Working with her really was a trigger for me to study learning disability nursing,” Bala says. It is also how he ended up in Oxford: “This was the best place to specialise in learning disabilities,” he says. Bala then worked as a senior community nurse for learning disabilities in the north of the county, covering Kidlington, Banbury and Bicester. “I absolutely loved my job. I was able to

use all my three disciplines – general, mental health and learning disability nursing – and really provide comprehensive, holistic care to service users,” he says.

Read the full story here, including how Bala was involved in transforming care for people with a learning disability and closing the Manor Hospital in Aylesbury.

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