NHS South West health leaders receive awards in NHS Year’s Honours

TWO senior women at NHS England South West, who combined have dedicated more than 80 years to caring and improving the health of communities, are among those recognised in the 2024 New Year’s Honours list.

Jill Crook, Director of Nursing Professional and System Development for NHS England South West, was awarded an BEM for services to transforming care for people with a learning disability and autistic people which provided the health and care services so that more people can live in the community, closer to home, with the right support.

While Professor Margaret Rae, NHS England South West’s Deputy Director of Regional Health Programmes and also the Head of School for Public Health Specialist Training, has received a CBE for her services across the country as former President of the Faculty of Public Health.

Elizabeth O’Mahony, NHS England South West Regional Director, said: “I am delighted to see Jill and Maggie recognised in the 2024 New Year’s Honours list.

“The honour shows how much their contribution is valued by the NHS, their colleagues and the people whose lives they’ve helped changed. Congratulations to them both.”

Jill said the award is recognition of the team’s collective work.

She said: It is an honour to be recognised for and awarded a British Empire Medal in this year’s New Year’s honours list.

“The award represents the sheer dedication and commitment to improving health care and outcomes for individuals with a learning disability and autistic people in the South West.

“Without the proactive, innovative work happening at a regional, and local level, we would not be seeing the improvements we are today”.

Prior to her role as a director for NHS England South West, the registered mental health and general nurse worked for a number of years as a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) within acute, elderly and children sectors.

A highlight within her career was setting up new mental health day services and working alongside multi-disciplinary teams.

Jill has also been Deputy Regional Chief Nurse Southwest, Director of Nursing at Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Strategic Health Authority and Director of Nursing at Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust and latterly Gloucestershire and Swindon, moving to the newly formed NHSE Bath, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire in 2013.

In 2014 she planned to retire but after leading the nursing and quality team part-time in 2015 she took on the role of NHS England South West’s Transforming Care Programme lead for learning disabilities and autism.

Maggie said to be awarded a CBE felt very surreal and humbling.

The former president of the Faculty of Public Health and current President of the RSM Epidemiology and Public Health Section, added: “I am deeply honoured to receive this award which I hope recognises all those working in Public Health.

“I would also like to thank colleagues for their help and support throughout my career.

“Public Health is a small but vital speciality and I have always found it a privilege to protect and promote the health of the public.”

As a leading public health expert she has most recently been instrumental in the campaign to encourage people across the South West to have their blood pressure checked.

The South West’s Know Your Numbers campaign launched in September as part of a drive to prevent strokes and heart attacks.

In the South West, identifying an additional 83,700 people with high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension, could prevent 503 heart attacks and 749 strokes, saving the NHS approximately £14 million.

Charity Gladstone, matron of Cardiology and Respiratory Services at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, also received an MBE for services to nursing.