More than a third of the people making the list of Health and Care’s Top 70 Stars, which were decided by a public vote, are nurses.
Others making the grade include porters, admin staff, doctors, allied health professionals, campaigners, volunteers and one former prime minister.
The NHS Confederation, NHS England and NHS Improvement launched a campaign earlier this year to find “Health and Care’s Top 70 Stars” to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS.
Patients, staff and the public were asked to nominate people in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland who have made an exceptional contribution to patient care, services and local communities over the past 70 years.
A total of 236 nominations were received and put to a public vote in May. The 70 winners were announced at the NHS 7Tea party at the NHS Confederation’s annual conference, in Manchester last week.
The list of 70 winners included 24 nurses and midwives.
The highest ranking nurse – at number 12 – is Mary Hinds who has been the Northern Ireland Public Health Agency’s Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professions since 2009, and director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Northern Ireland for five years prior to that.
Next at number 14 is Elaine Brettell, one of Salford Royal’s longest volunteers. She has volunteered at Salford Royal two days a week since her retirement in 1999, having spent the previous 45 years working at the hospital as a nurse.
At number 15 is Brian Dolan, an NHS trained nurse who is now Director of Service Improvement at Canterbury District Health Board in New Zealand. He pioneered two movements sweeping the NHS - #EndPJParalysis, which encourages patients in hospitals to stop wearing their pyjamas or hospital gown because it reinforces the ‘sick role’ and can prevent a speedier recovery – and #Last1000Days, which focuses attention on not wasting time in health care settings because a significant proportion of patients who get stuck in them system are in the last 1000 days of their life, so don’t have time to waste.
The overall winner was Dr Bijay Sinha, a consultant on a ward at Barts Health NHS Trust known for high discharge rates and low readmission rates, and second place went to Dr Sanjeev Nayak, a consultant interventional neuroradiologist at University Hospitals of North Midlands, who introduced and pioneered mechanical thrombectomy for stroke patients in the UK.
The third-place winner was the late Dr Kate Granger, an English geriatrician and campaigner for better patient care. She worked for the Mid-Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust, and founded the #hellomynameis campaign after becoming frustrated with the number of NHS staff who failed to introduce themselves to her when she was a hospital inpatient. Dr Granger died in 2016 from a rare form of incurable cancer.
Other on the list include a hospital porter loved by staff and patients and a catering manager who will turn her hand to anything when required – be it van driving or cleaning - when staff numbers are short. In again at number 10 is the only politician to make the list - former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who presided over the greatest expansion of the NHS since its foundation.
Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “By recognising members of our NHS workforce, and those on the outside who helped shape the system, we wanted to both celebrate the past and shape the future of health and care.
“The extremely diverse and varied list of winners who have dedicated their careers for a better system of health and care deserve no less than our recognition and honour.”