The national healthcare awards dedicated to shining a light on support workers, Our Health Heroes, is back! And this year hundreds of nominations are expected, both from staff and the public, as we recognise the herculean efforts of our NHS and social care people in 2020.

First launched in 2016 by Skills for Health, the Sector Skills Council for Health, Our Health Heroes celebrate the nation’s health and social care support workers who make up over 40% of the workforce and are the backbone of our NHS, social care, and independent health and care organisations. This year the Awards return, a little later than expected, but together with partners NHS Employers, UNISON, and Bevan Brittan, are set to be bigger than ever.

John Rogers Chief Executive, Skills for Health says: “The Awards highlight the thousands of individuals and teams, from all walks of life, all kinds of experiences and all four corners of the UK, who work tirelessly ‘behind the scenes’ to keep our NHS, health and care systems running smoothly, day-after-day. Without these people, the NHS simply couldn’t have survived for 72 years and none more so than in recent months.”

The incredible scale and pace of transformation achieved across our national health and care services in response to COVID-19 highlights what Our Health Heroes has long championed - the enormous contribution of all of our NHS and social care people.

John continues: “We believe every key worker, no matter their status, is deserving of admiration and recognition. Which is why we’re dedicating Our Health Heroes to those in support roles, those who we might not initially think of when faced with a national health crisis.”

As acknowledged in the recently released NHS People Plan, COVID-19 stirred a welcome outpouring of public gratitude and national community spirit like never before. The clapping has now stopped, but this appreciation must remain, as we all commit to supporting our NHS People, and wider health and care workforce to reset for the future.

Members of the public and those working in health and care are encouraged to nominate in one of the nine award categories, including a new category this year recognising Digital Innovation, and honouring those who have stepped up with digital solutions to support their colleagues and vastly improve patient outcomes.

John adds: “From healthcare assistants and carers, through to receptionists and recruitment teams. If you know someone deserving of recognition of any kind, please nominate them. These are the people really making the whole system work to support thousands of patients, every day, and for this, we want to say thank-you.”

A flagship award category, sponsored by NHS Employers for the second year running, recognises those who have made an Outstanding Contribution to the sector, featuring remarkable people who have dedicated their lives to care.

Rebecca Smith, managing director, NHS Employers says: “NHS Employers is proud once again to have the opportunity to sponsor the Outstanding Contribution award, to ensure we recognise all our teams, who go above and beyond for our patients every day.

“This is a wonderful way to shine a light on those whose contribution and dedication deserves to be recognised and celebrated, but who often go unacknowledged, and it’s especially welcome now, at a time when the COVID-19 crisis has put unprecedented strain on all our staff.”

The other categories highlight areas often not considered, including: Clinical and Operational Services Support staff, Apprentices, Independent Health and Social Care workers, Learning and Development teams, Integrated Teams, and importantly Health and Wellbeing initiatives.

Sara Gorton, head of health, UNISON says: “With the events of the past few months, healthcare staff across the NHS deserve recognition for their hard work now more than ever. UNISON is proud to once again be sponsoring the Apprentice of the Year and Operational Services Support Worker categories.” 

John’s final comment: “Our Health Heroes is just one small way we ensure that our support for the entire workforce is unwavering, and together with our sponsors, we want to ensure everyone gets the recognition deserved.”

This year’s awards will culminate in a very special ceremony in 2021, where winners and nominees will be recognised for their incredible achievements.

Jodie Sinclair, Partner, Bevan Brittan says: “Bevan Brittan are delighted to be supporting the Our Health Heroes Awards again this year and celebrating the fantastic work of those in the healthcare sector.”

The closing date for nominations is October 25, and anyone can make a nomination by visiting

Entries will be shortlisted, and finalists will be chosen by expert panel before winners are announced next year.


  1. Clinical Support Worker of the Year – Gold, Silver, Bronze
  2. Operational Services Support Worker of the Year – Gold, Silver, Bronze – sponsored by UNISON
  3. Apprentice of the Year – Gold, Silver, Bronze – sponsored by UNISON
  4. Independent Health and Social Care Worker of the Year – Gold, Silver, Bronze
  5. Outstanding Contribution – Gold, Silver, Bronze - sponsored by NHS Employers
  6. Integrated Team of the Year – one winner
  7. Digital Innovation person/team of the Year – one winner
  8. Learning and Development project/team of the Year – one winner
  9. Health and Wellbeing Employer of the Year – one winner

We all know Our Health Heroes, make sure you pay tribute to yours today!

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