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Wednesday, 04 July 2018

Domestic assistant hailed 'unsung hero' after 46 years and counting serving NHS

Written by The Press Association

Local health heroes have been honoured by NHS leaders on the eve of the health service's 70th anniversary celebrations.

MPs from around England nominated people or organisations from their constituencies who have made innovations or provided high-quality care.

NHS England received hundreds of nominations for the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards, which took place in the House of Commons.

From more than 750 entries submitted, experts chose 10 outstanding nominations which "exemplify the best of what the NHS and its partners do day in, day out", NHS England said.

A domestic assistant at Solent NHS Trust was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Rose Bennett has worked in the NHS for 46 years. She started when she was 30 and said retirement plans are not yet in sight.

The 76-year-old, from Milton, Portsmouth, was nominated by Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan.

She was hailed as an "unsung hero" by the head of the NHS in England.

Ms Bennett (pictured) began working in the NHS in 1971, joining her mother and aunt who were already working as domestic assistants.

Her two daughters have also worked for 29 years in the NHS, one as a chef and the other as a business manager.

Ms Bennett's role mostly consists of cleaning, and for many years she worked on mental health wards, where she was praised for always helping patients maintain dignity and gave them affection.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: "Rose is one of the many unsung heroes who are the backbone of the NHS.

"She has always gone the extra mile for patients at their time of need. In a very tough field all the judges agreed she is an incredibly deserving winner, and it was a pleasure to be able to present her with this award today."

Sue Harriman, chief executive of Solent NHS Trust, said: "Rose is an amazing individual and we are so pleased to be able to celebrate her dedication to the NHS, her colleagues and local people.

"Many people enter the NHS as a vocation and are incredibly humble, Rose is one of those people."

A "ground-breaking" project working Armed Forces personnel and veterans was awarded the Excellence in Mental Health Care award.

The Dorset Armed Forces Community Health and Wellbeing Project, based at Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust, helps people in the Armed Forces Community access health and social care services across Dorset.

The project, which acts as a single point of contact for health and care needs for the Armed Forced community, was nominated by Dorset MPs Tobias Ellwood and Michael Tomlinson.

It can also help service personnel access housing, welfare and employment issues.

Commenting on the award Dave Prentis, general secretary of the union Unison, said: "This is a ground-breaking project that looks at all aspects of the health and social care needs of armed forces personnel and their families."

Meanwhile a cancer nurse who has worked in the NHS for more than three decades was given the Excellence in Cancer Care Award.

Sian Dennison, lead cancer nurse at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, has facilitated the introduction of several cancer patient support groups and enhanced "end of life" rooms at Derriford hospital to make patients more comfortable when they are not able to be at home when they die.

Ms Dennison, who was nominated by Devon MPs Johnny Mercer, Gary Streeter and Luke Pollard, currently works as head of nursing for cancer/end of life and trust cancer manager in University Hospitals Plymouth.

The "virtual surgeon" Professor Shafi Ahmed, laparoscopic and colorectal surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust received the Future NHS award.

In 2016 Prof Ahmed performed the world's first live-stream virtual reality operation.

A patient with bowel cancer was operated on at The Royal London Hospital and the surgery was streamed through virtual reality technology.

Medical students from around the world were able to watch remotely though VR headsets.

Prof Ahmed, who was nominated by Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali, said technology can help students across the world be educated by leading surgeons.

Thousands of medical students from around the world have been able to watch his surgeries.

Giving out the award, Dr Neil Churchill, director for experience, participation and equalities at NHS England, said: "Professor Ahmed is a great example of the kind of pioneer that the NHS has fostered throughout its 70 years, benefiting both patients here and millions of others around the world.

"By using the power of technology to make contact and share his skills with countless more colleagues and students than could otherwise have been possible, he has personified the reach, inclusivity and innovation of the future NHS and so is a very deserving recipient of this award."

The so-called Butterfly Volunteers at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust were awarded the Care and Compassion gong.

The team support patients and their families in their last days of life at the Lister Hospital, Stevenage.

The team of volunteers, nominated by North East Hertfordshire MP Sir Oliver Heald QC, provide one-to-one companionship for dying patients who have few or no visitors.

They also support families and carers, providing them with valuable respite whilst they care for loved ones.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "The Butterfly Volunteers team exemplify the good things that can happen when volunteers, NHS charities and professionals work together, and it was a real privilege for me to part of recognising them here today.

"The last days of life can be an exceptionally difficult time for anyone, but particularly those who may not have someone there for them, so these volunteers perform an exceptionally valuable service, which I hope continues to flourish."

Meanwhile a pioneering project aiming to improve trauma care for the elderly won the Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care award.

The emergency department team at Heartlands Hospital developed the HECTOR (Heartlands Elderly Care, Trauma and Ongoing Recovery) project after recognising that most trauma care revolved around military personnel and the general public, but not the elderly.

As a result, a new approach to caring for elderly older people with traumatic injuries was developed by a team from the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham.

Patients in this project, which was nominated by Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips, have a reduced length of stay, reduced complication rate and a higher likelihood of returning home after discharge.

An out-of-hours service for patients in Cumbria with urgent but non life-threatening conditions was given the Excellence in Primary Care gong.

The Cumbria Health on Call service was praised for addressing the challenges of meeting the needs of a rural population.

Five Cumbrian MPs - Tim Farron, John Stevenson, Trudy Harrison, Rory Stewart and Sue Hayman - came together to nominate the scheme.

The service was the first out-of-hours service in the country to be rated as "Outstanding" by the Care Quality Commission.

Dr Helen Stokes Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, who presented the award, said: "To receive nominations from so many MPs is testament to how proud people in Cumbria are of this team, and I was absolutely delighted to be able to present them with this award."

And a community health team won the Person Centred Care Champion award for their work with homeless people in Manchester.

For five years the Community Tissue Viability Services at Pennine Acute NHS Trust in Manchester have run a run a wound care drop-in clinic three afternoons a week for homeless people and others who are traditionally hard-to-reach, such as people with drug or alcohol problems.

Meanwhile Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn nominated the Islington GP Federation in London which won the Healthier Communities award.

The team was recognised for improving the health and well-being of their local population - particularly vulnerable groups.

And an "inspirational" group of young patients - Victoria's Voice Youth Forum at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust - were handed the Patient and Public Involvement award.

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients' Association, said: "By giving up their time and sharing their experiences, they have helped the NHS to improve care for others like them - not just in Blackpool but around the country."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire.