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London Apprentice Wins National NHS Award

Patrick Onyema, a trainee nursing associate at North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), has been named Apprentice of the Year during the prestigious Our Health Heroes awards.

Today (20th November) more than 200 guests, including Baroness Dido Harding and Prerana Issar (Chief People Officer at NHS Improvement), gathered for the fourth annual Our Health Heroes awards at London’s Science Museum.


Organised by Skills for Health and headline sponsor Health Education England, the national awards, which were hosted by Dr Dawn Harper and included a performance by former doctor turned award winning writer Adam Kay, celebrated unsung healthcare heroes from across the UK.


Patrick Onyema from the Dementia Crisis Support Team in NELFT was awarded the gold award in the Apprentice of the Year category, to become one of only eight national winners at this year’s ceremony after a close public vote.


Since joining the team in 2017, Patrick, a healthcare assistant currently training as a nursing associate, has been committed to delivering excellent patient care within the Dementia Crisis Support team.


In addition to the usual responsibilities of his role, Patrick has a keen eye for developing services for patients and has previously completed a quality improvement project which looked at reducing the use of antipsychotic medication for people with dementia in care homes, which he went on to present to the Alzheimer’s Europe conference in Barcelona.


Patrick said: “I feel very privileged to have been voted to win this award. To me, this means so much and I am so humbled. It’s clear that it’s not the big things you do that make you great, but the little things you do in great ways.”


Patrick fought off competition from two other finalists from across the UK after securing the most support via the public vote which decided the national winner.


Sophie Pomroy, a business administration and organisational development apprentice from Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust took home silver and Ciaran Jones, a radiotherapy engineering apprentice at University Hospital of North Midlands, was awarded the bronze.


John Rogers, Chief Executive at Skills for Health, said: “Congratulations to Patrick on being named national winner of the Apprentice of the Year award.


“Having read through the nomination which was submitted for Patrick and hearing more about his drive to improve services and care for his patients, I can see why the public voted for him to be our national champion.


“He is obviously a fantastic asset not only to the Dementia Crisis Support Team, but also to the trust.”


Sara Gorton, Head of Health at UNISON, said: “It’s vital that we honour the dedication and tireless support that every member of the healthcare team provides.


“UNISON is proud to be part of the Our Health Heroes awards again as sponsors of the Apprentice of the Year and Operational Services Support Worker categories.”


Laura Roberts, Director at headline sponsor Health Education England (HEE), said: “These awards once again showcase the incredibly high standard of work and the vital role played by both apprentices and support workers. As the main sponsor of Our Health Heroes 2019 we extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners.


“Support workers and apprentices are a key part of the healthcare workforce and, through our Talent for Care programme, HEE supports employers with their workforce supply. This is achieved via school engagement, volunteering, work experience, pre-employment activity, apprenticeships and access to higher education and the registered professions.”


For more information about all eight of the Our Health Heroes 2019 winners visit:


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