New awards recognise the vital contribution of patient leaders

NHS England is sponsoring the first HSJ Patient Leader Awards to be announced at the Patient Safety Congress in Birmingham today.

It is the latest category of the health service magazine’s Top 50 awards – with 50 patient leaders around the country being recognised.

Giles Wilmore, Director for Patient and Public Voice and Information, explained why NHS England is throwing its support behind the new awards, saying: “Whatever their profession, NHS staff consistently tell us that their prime motivation for working in healthcare is to provide a good quality service to patients and the public: to show care and compassion for people when they most need it; to help them wherever possible on the road to recovery; to provide comfort, support, help and advice.

“This strong public service ethos, combined with the founding NHS principle that everyone is entitled to healthcare free at the point of delivery based on their need, not their ability to pay, is at the heart of the NHS Constitution and what makes the NHS such a valued institution.

“But we also know that, despite the efforts of wonderfully committed staff, the NHS does not always perceive the experience of care from the perspective of patients, families and carers or live up to our high standards. Sometimes patients have a poor experience of care, are not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, experience poor co-ordination of services or suffer longer than they need to, or worse.”

Giles, who together with Neil Churchill, NHS England’s Director for Improving Patient Experience, was on the judging panel, added: “Patient leaders use their own personal experiences to educate and campaign for better services for others. They are a truly inspiring bunch! That is why NHS England is delighted to sponsor the first ever HSJ Patient Leader Awards.

“This is a really important opportunity to celebrate the enormous contribution that leaders with experience as patients and carers make to the NHS.”