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Compassionate Care Awards will be my legacy

Expo 2014 marked the launch of something I am perhaps most proud of on this surreal journey we have been travelling for the past couple of years.

The inaugural Kate Granger Awards for Compassionate Care were to be presented by myself at the event and, while I had been in hospital a few weeks beforehand, I had the unenviable task of choosing winners from the outstanding shortlisted candidates.

It was incredibly humbling to read the amazing entries from all corners of the NHS.

Being a patient has taught me a huge amount about being a doctor. Prioritising compassionate care in its rightful place alongside patient safety, under the umbrella of quality is perhaps one of the most important things I have learned.

Much of my work has been about bringing this to the forefront of healthcare professionals’ consciousness. When staff are compassionate to me at my most vulnerable, that helps me to feel better and allows me to trust that they will deliver the best, safest care they can. Therefore, to have my efforts recognised in this way and a legacy created to celebrate outstanding care in the context of compassion, is simply overwhelming.

There was an amazing buzz as we entered Manchester Central on the day with many people recognising me from social media and requesting selfies! I felt as though I “knew” so many people especially when I reached the NHS Change Day stand, even though this was the first time we had met in real life. The atmosphere was so positive with so many ideas to share.

Presenting the awards to a packed audience with standing room only was a nerve-racking experience to say the least. I remember saying: “This is like the Oscars but only better!”

The individual award went to geriatrician and dementia care champion, Dr Sophie Edwards, and the team award to the Teenage Cancer Unit at Birmingham. Both citations made me cry which I felt was a good enough reason to pick them!

Hopefully the accolades gave both the winners and, indeed, all the nominees a real boost and it was truly lovely to celebrate brilliance instead of focussing on the negative. Seeing the entire audience at the end of my session enthusiastically hold up #hellomynameis signs was probably a tipping point for the campaign into proper viral status.

This year’s Expo is fast approaching. To be honest I really didn’t think I’d still be alive to present the 2015 awards, but I’m going to do my very best to be there in person in Manchester in September.

These awards are part of my legacy and I am so proud of them.

Given my cancer is progressing and chemotherapy is becoming intolerable, 2016 will mean my husband Chris has to do the honours, but I hope they will survive long into the future as a coveted prize in the health service.

Dr Kate Granger

Before losing her five year fight with a rare type of cancer in July 2016, Kate Granger, 34, was a Consultant in Medicine for Older People at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Launched in 2014 and presented annually at the Health and Innovation Expo, the Kate Granger Compassionate Care Awards are a lasting legacy to her inspirational #hellomynameis campaign.

Kate was passionate about quality improvement and she used her experiences and observations as a patient to raise awareness and drive up the standard of care delivered by the NHS.

The #hellomynameis campaign, launched in 2013 by Kate and her husband Chris Pointon, came as a result of staff failing to introduce themselves when they were caring for her.

Kate jokingly said she thought the campaign would “amount to one or two tweets and then fizzle out”. Instead it became a national campaign, winning the support of over 130 organisations, including NHS Trusts across England, Scotland and Wales, before becoming a global phenomenon – with #hellomynameis receiving more than 1.5billion Twitter impressions.

Kate, who wrote books as well as posting tweets and blogs regularly about her experiences of illness, also raised £200,000 with her husband which was donated to the Yorkshire Cancer Centre.