Health and care heroes to represent Midlands and East of England in NHS 70 birthday awards

The NHS in west Suffolk has today (Friday 18 May) revealed that the My WiSH Charity from West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is one of 10 it has chosen as regional champions in a prestigious competition to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday.

My WiSH Charity has been chosen as the regional winner in The Patient and Public Involvement Award category of the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards, and is therefore part of the shortlist for the national awards to follow.

The West Suffolk Hospital charity was founded in 1995, but in 2016 was rebranded and relaunched with the name My WiSH Charity. The team has gone from strength-to-strength, raising an incredible £1,249,411 in the 2015/16 financial year, mobilising staff, local businesses and members of the community to support and enhance the quality care offered at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

The team’s work contributes to reducing surgical procedure times, waiting times, patient recovery time, and providing sensitive support for patients and their families.

More recently they have launched their biggest appeal yet – Every Heart Matters – to raise £500,000 to support the build of a new cardiac diagnostic unit to sit alongside a new cardiac suite the Trust is investing in. The development of a fully integrated cardiac centre will enhance the treatment of all the Trust’s cardiac patients.

The charity also supports health and wellbeing initiatives for staff. This includes psychological support and additional training to enable them to go above and beyond their normal duties, to ensure the Trust can offer enhanced care that makes a real difference at difficult times. A more recent initiative is the roll out of staff water bottles to acute and community staff to ensure they stay hydrated throughout their working day.

Sue Smith, fundraising manager for My WiSH Charity, said: “Although we are a small team, we are proud to be achieving some great things for our community. Our team would like to thank our incredible local community, staff, and local businesses who have joined with us to fundraise for various campaigns that support our dementia patients, breast cancer patients and bereaved families after the loss of a loved one, to name a few.

“Many of the donations and legacies that we receive are as a direct result of a personal experience someone has had at our hospital or in the community, and they want to give back as a show of appreciation for the care they have received.”

My WiSH Charity is representing the Midlands and East of England as they vie with other regional winners from across England for a national award to be presented at a special ceremony in the Palace of Westminster in July.

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

Launched in February, it asked the region’s MPs to find and nominate those individuals or teams they thought have made the biggest improvements to health services in their constituencies across ten categories.

From almost 160 entries, senior experts have chosen 10 outstanding nominations, which exemplify the best of what the NHS and its partners do day in, day out.

The champions are:

  • The Excellence in Cancer Care Award: Inspire Health Team – Sarah Minns & Jyoti Shah
  • The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award, sponsored by Wesleyan: Diabetes and Mental Health Team
  • The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award: Heartlands Elderly Care, Trauma and Ongoing Recovery project (HECTOR)
  • The Care and Compassion Award: Butterfly volunteers
  • The Excellence in Primary Care Award: Medical School, University of Nottingham
  • The Person-Centred Care Champion Award: Norfolk Just One Number initiative
  • The Future NHS Award, sponsored by Health HR UK: Renal telemedicine team
  • The Healthier Communities Award: Alex Cotton and the ‘It Takes Balls to Talk’ Team
  • The Patient and Public Involvement Award: My WiSH Charity
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award: Professor Barbara Wilson

All of the champions will now be invited to the national awards ceremony, which will be held on 4 July 2018, the day before the NHS’s 70th birthday.  The ceremony will be hosted by Dr Sara Kayat, NHS GP & TV Doctor best known for This Morning, Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls and GPs: Behind Closed Doors.

NHS England Midlands and East (East) Director of Nursing, Vivienne Stimpson said: “Picking champions from the dozens of high quality nominations we received from local MPs was incredibly difficult, so all of those going forward to the national ceremony should be extremely proud of their achievement.”

The regional champions will now go forward to a final stage of judging by a panel including the leaders of Royal Colleges, the Unison trade union, and the Patients Association – collectively representing millions of health and care workers and patients.

Vivienne added: “I’m sure everyone will be rooting for our regional champions when the national winners are decided, and I’m confident that as a team they’ll be bringing a number of awards back with them from Westminster in July.”