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Ulster NHS Worker Wins Top Healthcare Award

Our Health Heroes

Pauline Symington, a service assistant at Ulster Hospital, took the public vote by storm and won national Operational Services Support Worker of the Year at 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-writer Adam Kay, celebrated unsung healthcare heroes from across the UK.

Pauline Symington, a neonatal ward service assistant at Ulster Hospital in Northern Ireland, won the UNISON-sponsored Operational Services Support Worker of the Year award, to become one of only eight national winners at this year’s ceremony.

Pauline has been a valued member of the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust since 2003. Working closely with the ward manager and wider team, Pauline is responsible for hygiene within the neonatal ward and its high-dependency neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Colleagues singled out Pauline’s ability to connect with the parents of patients on the ward, who are often stressed and worried, and said she was instrumental in the refurbishment of the neonatal parents’ room.

Pauline said: “It was an absolute honour to have been recognised by a professional and dedicated team, let alone to have won!

“The Ulster Hospital is very privileged to have such an amazing neonatal team and it is my honour to work with them and the families we care for.”

Pauline fought off competition from 11 other regional finalists from across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the public vote to decide the national winner.

John Rogers, Chief Executive at Skills for Health, said: “Congratulations to Pauline on being named national winner of the Operational Services Support Worker of the Year award.

“Having read through the nomination which was submitted for Pauline and hearing more about her compassion and empathy for the parents of patients, I can see why the public voted overwhelmingly for her to be our national champion.

“She is obviously a fantastic asset not only to the neonatal unit, whose staff would be ‘lost without her’, but also to Ulster Hospital and her 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 award 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.”

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