Outstanding nurses and midwives could be in the running for new awards launched today to mark 70 years of the NHS.
The NHS70 Parliamentary Awards will see English MPs nominate “health and care heroes” from their constituencies, who they believe warrant national recognition for their exemplary work.
“The 70th anniversary is an important opportunity to honour those people, past and present”
The 10 award categories include the Care and Compassion Award for any nurse, midwife or support worker who has used their skills and experience to ensure patients experience the very best care.
Meanwhile, the Person-Centred Care Champion Award is for an individual or team that has strived to bring services together and ensure patients with long-term and multiple conditions get the right care in the right place for them.
There is also a Lifetime Achievement Award to honour those who have worked in a health or care setting for 40 years or more, and devoted their lives or careers to making the service better for both patients and staff.
Other awards celebrate the work of individuals or teams who have delivered excellence in cancer care, mental health, urgent and emergency care, public health and voluntary work.
“We will hear some unique stories of personal and professional triumph”
While the final nominees will be chosen by MPs, nurses, nursing teams and others are being encouraged to put themselves forward or flag up the excellent work of colleagues by filling in a nomination form.
The awards, sponsored by IBM, form part of a range of activities being organised by NHS England and NHS Improvement to celebrate the achievements of the NHS and those who work for and with it.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the health service’s 70th anniversary was an opportune moment to recognise the contribution of hard-working staff.
“As the NHS turns 70, this is the right moment to reflect on seven decades of medical progress; to thank our extraordinary staff and volunteers to look forward to the future with resolve and confidence,” he said.
Among the guests due to attend today’s launch event in Westminster was Ethel Armstrong, who was working in the NHS the day it came into being on 5 July 1948.
Ms Armstrong, 87, worked for more than four decades at various hospitals around the country, mainly in nursing and radiography, and since then for two charities that support current and retired staff – the Cavell Nurses’ Trust and NHS Retirement Fellowship.
“The NHS has changed a great deal since Nye Bevan launched it back in 1948, but one thing has stayed the same: the dedication, skill and compassion of those who work in it and support it in other ways,” she said.
“The 70th anniversary is an important opportunity to honour those people, past and present, so I would urge MPs to support these awards,” she added.
MPs have until March 23 to submit their nominations. They will choose one nomination per category and these will then be judged by senior local and regional NHS experts to identify a regional champion for each award to be announced on 21 May.
Regional champions will then be judged by a high-level panel with the winners announced at an awards ceremony in parliament on July 4 – the day before the NHS’s 70th birthday.
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Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes and chair of the Commons’ health select committee, was hosting today’s launch.
She said the awards were a “chance for all MPs to celebrate this anniversary and recognise the truly outstanding care which they and their constituents receive”.
“I encourage all of my colleagues to invite nominations; we will hear some unique stories of personal and professional triumph, and of men and women going beyond what is expected of them to deliver compassionate and care,” she said.
MPs are being asked to put forward nominations in the following categories:
- The Excellence in Cancer Care Award: an individual or team which is going above and beyond to improve outcomes and experience for patients living with and beyond cancer
- The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award: an individual or team which has developed new and effective services to help people living with mental health problems in the community
- The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award: an individual or team which has made improvements to how the NHS treats people in life or death situations
- The Excellence in Primary Care Award: a primary care practitioner or team which is working with patients to help them stay healthy in their own homes
- The Person-Centred Care Champion Award: an individual or team which has gone furthest towards bringing together services to ensure patients with long-term and multiple conditions get the right care in the right place for them
- The Future NHS Award: an individual or team that has successfully trialled and embedded innovative change(s) to empower and improve care for patients
- The Healthier Communities Award: an individual or team which has brought different groups together to improve public health in their areas
- The Care and Compassion Award: any nurse, midwife or care staff member of any discipline and in any setting who used their skills to ensure that patients experience care
- The Patient and Public Involvement Award: to celebrate volunteers who help shape and deliver better services in their area
- The Lifetime Achievement Award: for an individual who has worked a health or care setting for 40 years or more who has left a lasting legacy