An “incredible” nurse from Southampton has today been recognised for dedicating her career to helping homeless people in a prestigious ceremony at the Houses of Parliament.
Pamela Campbell, who works as a nurse consultant for homeless and health inequalities at Solent NHS Trust, has been announced as the national winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the NHS Parliamentary Awards.
“It has been my privilege to work with people experiencing the lack one of the most fundamental human rights - a home”
The awards, which took place today at the Palace of Westminster’s Terrace Pavilion, celebrate the achievements and unwavering efforts of hard-working health service employees and volunteers.
MPs were asked to find and nominate individuals and teams they believe to have made the biggest improvements to health services in their constituencies, across 10 categories.
Ms Campbell, who qualified as a registered nurse in 1979, was first announced as the regional winner in June and today visited London for the finals.
She has now been awarded the national achievement for devoting her nursing career to working with some of the country’s most vulnerable patients.
She was nominated for the award by Southampton Itchen MP, Royston Smith, and has been commended for her instrumental work in the development of the Homeless Healthcare Team at the trust which was set up in July 1992. The team is recognised as a “national lead” in the field of homelessness.
In addition, Ms Campbell has been recognised for her involvement in setting up key projects to help homeless people.
These include the ‘alcohol day detoxification project’, which won a public health nursing award in 2014, and the ‘breathing space project’, which enables safe and supported discharge of homeless patients.
Most recently, Ms Campbell has been working to develop healthcare services for Syrian refugees granted asylum in the UK, and on a peer advocacy project to help homeless people to engage better with health services.
“I am completely in awe of Pamela, and the difference she makes ”
Reflecting on her career, Ms Campbell said: “It has been my privilege, for the past 27 years, to work with people experiencing the lack one of the most fundamental human rights - a home.
“I have come to realise that being an advocate for a truly marginalised group of people has brought me into contact with truly incredible people, but also the hasher side of life.
“Standing up for something that is so right has prevented me falling for anything, to paraphrase an African proverb.”
Chief executive at the trust, Sue Harriman, congratulated Ms Campbell on her achievement.
She said: “I know that everyone in Solent NHS Trust is over the moon that Pamela has been awarded this incredibly prestigious award and that her dedication has been recognised and celebrated today.
“We can’t praise Pamela enough; she is an incredible lady and a selfless person who gives so much of herself to helping some of the most vulnerable people in Southampton.
“I am completely in awe of Pamela, and the difference she makes, she is a real inspiration.”
Ms Campbell’s award is one of 10 given today during the NHS Parliamentary Awards, which is in its second year.
“It was humbling to hear about the hundreds of examples of outstanding care”
Dr Ruth May
Along with Ms Campbell, other nurses were also awarded at the event, including the safeguarding nursing team at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which picked up a joint win in the Health Equalities Award category.
The team was commended for its contribution to covert operations working with police to provide safe and well checks for potential victims of sex trafficking.
Nurses participated in a total of eight missions in what was believed to be the first link-up of its kind between police and health services in the UK, which enabled 40 women to access support.
The Health Equalities Award was jointly won with Chantel Palmer, a midwife from the North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust.
Ms Palmer was recognised for her work to ensure vulnerable mothers get the care and support they need in pregnancy and during birth.
As a result of Ms Palmer’s work, more women are being seen earlier on during their pregnancy at 11 weeks.
This means that women are getting access to support to quit substance abuse much sooner as opposed to in the final stages of their pregnancy.
The celebrations also saw the North Bristol NHS Trust pick up the Wellbeing at Work Award.
The trust lives by the mantra “Your health is as important as our patients” and was praised for the number of activities on offer to support staff well-being.
Source: NHS England
This includes sleep and mindfulness support, 24/7 confidential services and training for nearly 200 members of staff in mental health awareness.
Other awards at the event included, the Excellence in Mental Health Care Award, Excellence in Health Care Award, Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award and Excellence in Primary Care Award.
Chief nursing officer for England and lead for the national awards ceremony this year, Dr Ruth May, said: “It was humbling to hear about the hundreds of examples of outstanding care we received for the NHS Parliamentary Awards this year and all were worthy winners.
“On behalf of the expert panel who represent millions of NHS staff, patients and carers and who had a hard time choosing, I’d like to say a huge congratulations on your fantastic achievements.
“The skills, expertise and innovation that I have seen in the nominations give me confidence that together we can deliver the ambitions set out in the Long Term Plan - I am delighted to be celebrating with the individuals and teams involved.”
The winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by more than 230 MPs.
NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, said: “It has once again been a privilege to celebrate with some of the extraordinarily dedicated and selfless health and care heroes who make the NHS what it is today - the much-loved institution that our patients say is what makes them most proud to be British.
“From those who have devoted their lives to helping people and supporting some of our most vulnerable, to delivering pioneering lifesaving treatments, the NHS Parliamentary awards are rightly honouring those who continue to make a huge contribution to our country, through our NHS Long Term Plan.”
Commenting on today’s winners, Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary, Dame Donna Kinnair, said: “These awards showcase the range of exceptional things that nurses do for their patients and for our NHS.
“The winners have demonstrated not just exemplary care, but also great inventiveness and imagination. They deserve our heartfelt admiration and congratulations.
“They also remind us that we must do more to support and invest in the nursing workforce that works so hard and achieves so much every day.”
The ceremony was also attended by health select committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston MP and health secretary Matt Hancock.