Skip to main content

Gail Allan reflects on 16 glorious years in newborn hearing screening

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme

My name is Gail Allan and it’s hard to believe that 16 years have passed since I started working for the NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP).

As I enjoy my last day before retirement (Friday, 28 September 2018, for the record), I'd like to tell you a bit about just a few of my many highlights of working in the programme.

Then and now: a photo of Gail Allan when she started, and one as she prepares to retire.
Then and now: Gail Allan has enjoyed her 16 years in newborn hearing screening


Some of you will remember ‘implementation’ – the challenging process of sites getting ready for and starting newborn hearing screening.

If you were from a site in the north you would have had visits and training from me as your ‘zonal’ and later ‘national’ co-ordinator. Sally Wood was the midlands co-ordinator and Siobhan Ryan was the southern co-ordinator.

Implementation was completed by 2006 – it was a very stressful time for the local teams and for us. Everyone worked very long hours and many sites demonstrated superhuman efforts in order to ‘make it happen’. I’m sure some of you have recollections of me training screeners with varying degrees of patience.

Since then I have been a regional co-ordinator for the south west (whose idea was that when I live in Yorkshire?) part of the training team with screening colleagues Lindsay Kimm, Heather Kelly and the NHSP quality assurance (QA) team. More recently I have been the project lead for NHSP.

Some people will remember me as the woman at their Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), which ensures candidates have the skills to work within the NHSP. I have lost count of the number of OSCEs we have run. I remember we ran one in a scout hut once.

I’ve worked with some really wonderful hard working and dedicated people, both within the national programme and in the local sites.

My successor

I’m sure you will all welcome my successor, Julie Tucker. Please be gentle with her while she gets used to her new role (she's got my number saved in her phone.)

I am very sure she will make an excellent project lead and she will slip easily into the role of the NHSP programme manager, Jane Hibbert’s, right hand woman.

Julie brings with her a wealth of experience. She’s been a screener and local manager and so brings a new dimension and understanding.

Final thoughts

Finally I would like you to spend a few moments remembering what NHSP has achieved.

Look at the massive change that has been made to the early identification of hearing loss and the impact this has had on the children’s and their families lives. The phrase ‘world class’ is so often misused but NHSP England really is a ‘world class’ screening programme.

I’m very proud to have been a part of this.

PHE Screening blogs

PHE Screening blogs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes. You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs.

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Nichola Lister posted on

    Enjoy your retirement Gail.

    I'm still loving doing hearing screening for the babies of Calderdale and Huddersfield after 16 years!

    I'm sure you will remember us as one of the pilot sites in 2002.

    Nikki Lister (was Rushworth)

  2. Comment by Anne Russell posted on

    Thank you for all you have given to the programme and to us at the sharp end.

    Enjoy your well deserved retirement.

    Best Wishes

    Anne Russell

  3. Comment by Donna Riley posted on

    Thank you for your help and support Gail, wishing you a very happy retirement, you will be missed.

  4. Comment by Suzanne Beshara posted on

    Enjoy your retirement Gail! It was a pleasure working with you during my stint also as a National Coordinator for the NHSP - I recall may a conversation with you as you dangled out your window to get a decent phone reception... 🙂 I am sure your knowledge and expertise will be greatly missed.

  5. Comment by Lisa Ward posted on

    I have very happy memories of meeting you on numerous occasions Gail. You have always been at the end of a phone or email to offer help and support. Make the most of your retirement and live it to the full. You will be sadly missed.

    Best wishes

    Lisa Ward