Awards honour NHS heroes after busiest ever year

With the memory of the busiest winter the NHS has ever seen still fresh in many people’s minds, the healthcare staff at the centre of that challenging time have had their heroic efforts honoured.

For the ninth consecutive year, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hosted its Staff Excellence Awards in tribute to the men and women who go above and beyond for patients every day.

Nine awards were handed out at the event at Swindon’s Steam Museum on Friday 22 June, with the winners and finalists, along with their colleagues and friends, treated to a well-deserved night of glitz and glamour, with the NHS 70th birthday as the theme.

Nerissa Vaughan, Chief Executive, personally thanked the 300-strong crowd at the celebration.

She said: “The fact that every fantastic achievement has taken place against the backdrop of the busiest year that the NHS has ever seen is remarkable, and you should all feel very proud.

“Our Trust, like the rest of the NHS, has been bursting at the seams but the way you carry on when things are tough and the way you continue to give each patient individual care specific to their needs is truly inspirational. I really, really am grateful for all your hard work and dedication.”

Among the nine accolades presented on the night, which ranged from celebrating those who have raised money for Trust charity Brighter Futures to highlighting staff who have introduced new and innovative ways of working, was the coveted Patients’ Choice Award.

With all nominations coming direct from patients and their families, this year’s winner was Samantha Richards, Uro-Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Sam received no fewer than nine nominations from members of the public who described her as “an absolute star” and “a credit to the NHS” with an “unbelievable passion for her patients and her job.” Another nomination said simply: “The world needs more nurses like Samantha.”

She also won praise from patients for setting up the Prostate Cancer Support Group in Swindon and for the support and reassurance she provides to local people with cancer.

Elsewhere in the evening, audience members were treated to heart-warming accounts of staff going to great lengths, such as the creation of the Go Flo project, led by Consultant Obstetrician Nusrat Fazal, which enables pregnant women to monitor their blood pressure from home using text-based technology.