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Our Health Heroes: Help Us Crown the Winner!

A retired district nurse, a palliative care discharge co-ordinator and a specialist dietitian are hoping members of the public will get behind them to decide who will win the Outstanding Contribution category at this year’s Our Health Heroes Awards.

Organised by Skills for Health and headline sponsor Health Education England (HEE), the awards have been celebrating unsung healthcare heroes from across the UK since 2016.

This year, for the first time, members of the public were able to submit nominations alongside healthcare professionals for their heroes in eight different categories including Outstanding Contribution of the Year, which received 218 nominations.

Judges, including category sponsor NHS Employers, were impressed by the quality of submissions from across the UK and have opened the public vote to decide who takes home the bronze, silver and gold awards in this popular category.

Sarah Armer from South West Yorkshire NHS, Christina Ginsburg from Mountbatten Hospice on the Isle of Wight and Janet Callaghan from Manchester Local Care are all in the running for gold for their inspirational nominations.

Their individual nominations outlined their specific contributions to the healthcare community and how their personal dedication has improved the lives of patients.

Representing South West Yorkshire NHS, Sarah Armer has been nominated for her contribution to the nutrition and dietetic service, in her role as a specialist dietitian.

Sarah wanted to experience what life is like for patients who are tube fed. To do this, she had a nasogastric tube fitted to go one step further and put herself in her patients’ position. She experienced what it was like to have a tube inserted, be fed through it and carry out daily tasks with the tube in place.

Last year, Sarah committed herself to tackling a week-long diet some of her patients are forced to follow. This involved consuming only liquidised food and thickened fluids. By doing this, Sarah was able to experience the difficulties her patients are presented with at first hand and could pass on her experiences to others to help improve their understanding and the care provided.

Sarah said: “I’m thrilled to have been nominated for the Outstanding Contribution Award for my care for our patients. It is due to having these direct personal experiences that I am able to better understand some of the issues our patients face every day and improve the care we provide for them.”

Nominated by her colleague, Christina Ginsburg is the Palliative Care Discharge Co-ordinator at Mountbatten Hospice.

Christina uses her expert knowledge of services that span primary and secondary care to facilitate timely, co-ordinated and safe discharges for patients receiving end-of-life care.

Despite regularly facing complex and difficult situations she remains dedicated to her patients and their families. Christina recently accompanied a patient, nearing their end of life, to the mainland by ambulance to return home.

The patient was on holiday and had suddenly deteriorated and been admitted to hospital. She travelled by his side, held his hand and used her mobile phone to update him on the journey time. The patient later sadly passed away but on home soil, as he wished.

It is due to Christina’s care and compassion for her patients that this was possible for this patient. Her colleagues have named her an inspiration who makes the seemingly impossible, possible.

Christina commented: “It is a privilege to be recognised for the commitment of our team, working together to support and care for patients coming to the end of their life by providing them with the best possible care.”

Meanwhile, 70-year-old Janet Callaghan has worked for the NHS as a Registered General Nurse for 52 years. She trained in north Manchester where she was a community nurse and then a district nurse.

Now, in her retirement, she has returned to run the Treatment Rooms at Manchester Local Care Organisation and is still driving change with enthusiasm and vigour. During her career Janet established several clinics and a local Asian women’s healthcare session.

Her tireless drive for service improvement has been commended by her colleagues, while her skills and experience within community nursing enable her to support, supervise and train junior nurses and students to provide the highest level of service possible.

Janet commented: “I am thrilled to have been nominated for this award. I love what I do, so to be recognised for simply doing what I love is such a wonderful feeling.”

To vote in the Outstanding Contribution category or to read more about all of our finalists visit Voting closes on Friday 11th October 2019.

All the finalists have been invited to the Our Health Heroes Awards ceremony which will take place on Wednesday 20th November 2019 at London’s Science Museum. 

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