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The history and people behind Assist 24hr Nursing Agency.


Craig Wathall M.A. B.A R.M.N Dip H.E. Nursing. Pt LLS.


An ex engineer from Sheffield and leading from the front, Craig has 22 years experience working in the nursing agency business, since the mid 1990s. Redundant from engineering in 1984 and following the gritty completion of 3 A Levels in one year at Rotherham College in 1985 he then gained first degree in sociology and economics 1988, he completed clinical nurse training in London's North West Thames Regional Health Authority in 1992.

He trained and qualified in nursing from a prestigious London trust which comprised three specialist hospitals, Harefield Hospital Northwood an international Heart and Lung transplant centre lead by Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, FRS , Mount Vernon Hospital Northwood Middlesex, a world centre for the treatment of Burns and Hillingdon Hospital Uxbridge, the Emergency Disaster Response hospital for Heathrow Airport. Throughout his nurse training he worked every hour he could for a leading London Nursing Agency (LPNS) London and Provincial Nursing Services working across all the London Hospitals as an agency care worker and then as a qualified nurse. His passion for agency nursing grew when he completed the degree in nursing from Brunel University in 1993. Two years later he was Branch manager for LPNS at Northwick Park Hospital Harrow where he learned the business. He has further qualifications in marketing, photography and photojournalism and is a visiting lecturer in journalism and has recently found time to complete studies in Aesthetics at University of Oxford. He writes and photographs for national and regional newspapers and magazines including The Nursing Standard and Care Today.

Returning to Sheffield in 1997 he formed 24hr Worksop Nursing Services from a converted pet shop trading in partnership with two business partners, Julie Bennett RNLD and his wife a prison nurse and highly qualified trainer. The agency operating 24hrs a day agency owned by nurses by who picked up the shifts working along side their agency staff proved a very successful recipe and following a 12 month period of phenomenal growth and with a Turnover of £2.1 million in its first year Worksop Nursing Services became a Ltd company (Cyclone GB Ltd T/A Worksop Nursing Services with Craig as Managing Director. Less than a year later came the equally successful Forensic Care Services (FCS Ltd) working alongside Worksop Agency only supplying Mental Health Nurses to Secure Environments in the Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire regions. See here

Trading successfully in Nursing homes and Secure units and with a growing domiciliary care business the two companies built a secure reputation for helping when no one else could, having intimate detailed knowledge of their nursing home clients and often knowing the home managers personally success came from Craig and Julie working directly in the nursing homes themselves when agency staff ran out. In 2006, however Julie Bennett retired and Craig and his wife formed Ace Social Care in late 2006 to take over the existing clients and business from Cyclone GB Ltd T/A Worksop Nursing Services and FCS Ltd when Julie retired and the companies were wound up in 2007. The name ACE originally came from the slogan Attention Care Excellence that was displayed as a slogan on Worksop's first letterheads and was invented by Craig's wife in 2001, it was our printers who suggested we call the new organisation ACE in 2006. Ace 24hr Nursing and Ace Social Care, Ace Domiciliary Care Agency have been a trading partnership as man and wife team ever since. Our earliest home made website from 2006 can be seen here

In April 2011 Craig and his wife Veronica trading as ACE SOCIAL CARE formed a Ltd company Ace 24hr Healthcare Ltd, Craig developed an new website and logo to expand the business but they have never traded this company, and have now rebranded to ASSIST HEALTHCARE following recent awareness of several other care agencies also called ACE are operating in Lincoln and Nottingham and Scotland areas. The new company ASSIST continues to trade with the same clients and staff it has had in the locality for almost 20 years. The appointment of Vanessa Ogden a long term employee as a Director has over seen the change from Ace Healthcare to Assist Healthcare. The slogan remains however from the early days Attention Care Excellence

Craig Wathall additionally is an award-winning photojournalist with offices in Sheffield, London and Cambridge
For anyone interested his link to his photography is here