Young volunteers, long-serving domestic assistant and ‘virtual surgeon’ among winners of NHS birthday awards

Individuals and teams representing the pride of the NHS in England have today (Wednesday 4 July) been honoured in Parliament as a part of a special, one-off awards to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday.

The NHS70 Parliamentary Awards, sponsored by IBM and Teva, were launched in February to recognise the massive contribution made by the individuals who work in and alongside the NHS.

MPs in England were asked to nominate individuals and teams serving their constituents across ten categories. Regional champions were selected in May, with the national winners chosen by a panel of senior leaders representing staff and patients.

Among those scooping awards at the ceremony, held in Parliament’s Terrace Pavilion, were 75-year old hospital domestic assistant Rose Bennett, who won the Lifetime Achievement award for her 46 years of service to St James Hospital in Portsmouth. At the other end of the age spectrum, the Patient and Public Involvement award went to the Victoria’s Voice Youth Forum, a group of teenaged patients who work with Blackpool Hospitals Trust to improve services for others.

Professor Shafi Ahmed – dubbed ‘The Virtual Surgeon’ – took home the Future NHS award for his use of Google Glass and other gadgets to remotely teach millions of surgical students from around the world, making him the most watched surgeon in human history. Meanwhile, the Butterfly Volunteers, a group based at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust who spend time with patients who are terminally ill in their final days, were presented with the Care and Compassion award.

They were among the ten winners – selected from more than 750 nominations submitted by over 250 MPs – to receive their awards at a ceremony on the Palace of Westminster’s Terrace Pavilion, hosted by Dr Sara Kayat, NHS GP and TV Doctor. Health Select Committee Chair Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP, and the panel of judges collectively representing millions of NHS staff and patients were also on hand to pay tribute to the winners and all those shortlisted.

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “As we celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS, it’s an opportune moment to recognise the extraordinarily dedicated and selfless health service staff, and those who work or volunteer alongside them, who make the NHS what it is today: the institution that our fellow citizens say makes them proudest to be British.”

Ian Dalton, NHS Improvement chief executive, said: “Today’s winners encapsulate the amazing work of NHS staff and volunteers. We are celebrating all sorts of contributions, because it takes all sorts of people to make the NHS run, from heroes in unsung roles who have devoted their lives to the NHS, to innovators who are changing the way the NHS works.”

Wider celebrations to mark the NHS’s big birthday will include thousands of NHS Big 7Tea parties to raise money for NHS charities, whilst dozens of landmark buildings will light up blue, including York Minster, the Blackpool Tower, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the London Eye and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The BT Tower will also run a special birthday message on its iconic infoband.

Award Winners

  • Lifetime Achievement: Rose Bennett at Solent NHS Trust (nominated by Stephen Morgan MP).
  • Future NHS: Professor Shafi Ahmed – Consultant General, Laparoscopic and Colorectal Surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust (nominated by Rushanara Ali MP).
  • Excellence in Cancer Care: Sian Dennison, Lead Cancer Nurse at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust (nominated by Jonny Mercer MP, Gary Streeter MP, and Luke Pollard MP).
  • Person centred-care: Community Tissue Viability Services at Pennine Acute NHS Trust in Manchester (nominated by Lucy Powell).
  • Excellence in Urgent Care: HECTOR (Heartlands Elderly Care, Trauma and Ongoing Recovery Project) at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham (nominated by Jess Philips MP).
  • Excellence in Primary Care: Cumbria Health on Call in Penrith (nominated by Tim Farron MP, John Stevenson MP, Trudy Harrison MP, Rory Stewart MP, and Sue Hayman MP).
  • Care and Compassion: Butterfly Volunteers at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust (nominated by Sir Oliver Heald QC MP).
  • Healthier Communities: Islington GP Federation (nominated by Jeremy Corbyn MP).
  • Patient and Public Involvement: Victoria’s Voice Youth Forum at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust (nominated by Paul Maynard MP).
  • Excellence in Mental Health Care: Dorset Armed Forces Community Health and Wellbeing Project at Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust (nominated by Tobias Ellwood MP and Michael Tomlinson MP)

Further information about the winners can be found on the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards website.