NHS photography competition shortlist announced, including Britain’s oldest volunteer

A shortlist of 75 NHS staff and volunteers has been announced in a photography competition to mark 75 years of the health service, with images including a portrait of Britain’s oldest volunteer – 102-year-old Beryl Carr – and a patient playing the violin during her brain surgery.

2 emergency helicopterstwo woman sorting out some utensils Church with stained glass windows

The national competition, run by NHS England in partnership with Fujifilm UK, saw hundreds of the health service’s staff and volunteers from across the country enter photographs that told their unique stories of what the NHS means to them.

The 75 shortlisted photographs will be displayed at an exhibition at Fujifilm House of Photography in Covent Garden, London and open to public viewing from the 5th July 2023 – 75 years to the day from the date that the NHS was established.

The gallery captures the full breadth of compassion, resilience and world-leading expertise that is as evident in the NHS today as it was when the health service was first established on 5th July 1948.

One of the images features someone who can recall the very first day the NHS came into existence, Britain’s oldest volunteer 102-year-old Beryl Carr.

The image, by Steve Watkins at London Northwest University Healthcare NHS Trust, was taken on one of Beryl’s once-a-month volunteering shifts at the Friends Café in Ealing Hospital – a role she started as an 80-year-old in 2003 preparing food and operating the till for visitors to the café.

Patient under going surgery while playing a violinPortrait of Britain’s oldest volunteer, Beryl Carr

Among the other entries there are striking images capturing a patient playing a violin while undergoing brain surgery to ensure parts of the brain that control co-ordination were not damaged, as well as a pharmacy robot, air ambulances and those documenting the NHS’ world-leading COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England and one of the six competition judges, said: “We were amazed at the quality of photographs submitted to the competition – it’s incredible to see the way entrants have documented life in the NHS. The compassion, the ingenuity, the camaraderie, the good times and when it gets tough – it’s all captured throughout the five categories and it’s a really fitting way to mark 75 years of the NHS.”

Joining Dame Ruth May on the judging panel were This Morning’s resident GP Dr Ellie, award-winning journalist Victoria Macdonald, eminent photographer Lewis Khan, Dr Habib Naqvi MBE and Fujifilm’s Theo Georghiades.

Each of the 75 shortlisted photographers have been invited to a special ceremony on the 4th July at the Fujifilm House of Photography to unveil all of the finalist’s photographs, with a winner for each of the competition’s five categories announced before the event.

The five winners will also have their photograph displayed at the NHS 75th anniversary service at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday 5th July.

Tom Watanabe, Managing Director for Fujifilm UK, said: “We are delighted that so many NHS staff and volunteers have had the chance to tell their stories through these powerful images,” explains “As an organisation that started in photography and has worked in healthcare for over 80 years delivering diagnostic imaging and medical devices, we were uniquely placed to work with the NHS to run this competition and are delighted to the public will be able to come to the exhibition and pay tribute to our wonderful health service.”

The five categories include:

  1. Our People: From the nurses, doctors and other clinicians who care for us in our time of need, to the porters and cleaners who keep our hospitals moving our people are the driving force behind the NHS. This category recognises the individuals and teams that make up who the NHS is.
  2. Our Innovations: Since 1948, the NHS has innovated and adapted to meet the needs of each successive generation, putting patients at the heart of everything it does. This category celebrates innovation across the NHS in all its forms – from cutting edge treatments to pioneering ways of delivering care.
  3. Our Environment: The NHS has more patients sleep in our beds each night than there are hotel rooms in London. The way our buildings are designed and used provides opportunities to support better patient care and staff wellbeing. This category explores NHS grounds and buildings – indoors and out – and how individuals, teams and communities are working together to integrate sustainability into what we do.
  4. Our Care: Kindness and compassion are at the heart of how we deliver care in the NHS. This category will capture that core value – whether that is the care we provide our patients, or to each other as colleagues.
  5. Our Partners: Every day the NHS is witness to extraordinary teamwork – a coming together of NHS staff alongside hundreds of thousands of volunteers, partners, charities and beyond. This category is to celebrate the crucial role those partnerships play in helping us deliver the best possible care for patients.