A competition seeking and celebrating exceptional people and teams working within the NHS has been launched to mark its 70th anniversary.
The “NHS70 Parliamentary Awards” will see English MPs put forward individuals and teams serving their constituencies for national recognition. The winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony on the House of Commons Terrace the day before the NHS’s official anniversary in July.
The awards are among several activities organised by NHS England and NHS Improvement, working with a range of partners, to celebrate the achievements of the NHS and those who work for and with it. MPs attending this week’s launch were urged to search for outstanding nominees in their areas who have innovated, impressed and made a real difference to caring for their constituents.
Nominations can be made in ten categories, including a Lifetime Achievement award to honour those who have devoted their lives or careers to making the NHS better, both for patients and colleagues. Other categories recognise excellence in cancer care, mental health care, emergency care and home-based care, while other awards are for innovation and improving systems for the delivery of quality care.
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “As the NHS turns 70, this is the right moment to reflect on seven decades of medical progress – to thank our extraordinary staff and volunteers and to look forward to the future with resolve and confidence.”
Although nominations will be submitted by MPs, they are being encouraged to seek suggestions for nominees from the constituencies they serve. Anyone in England who knows someone working in the NHS who they think deserves special recognition is urged to contact their local MP with the information.
Dr Sarah Woolaston MP, who hosted the competition launch event, said: “I encourage all of my fellow MPs to invite nominations. We will hear some unique stories of personal and professional triumph, and of men and women going beyond what is expected of them to deliver compassionate and world class care.”
Among the guests meeting MPs at the launch was 87-year-old Ethel Armstrong MBE, who was working in the NHS on the day it came into being on July 5th 1948. Ethel worked for more than 40 years at various hospitals around the country, mainly in radiography and nursing, and since then for two charities that support current and retired NHS staff.
She said: “The NHS has changed a great deal since Nye Bevan launched it back in 1948, but one thing has stayed the same: the dedication, skill and compassion of those who work in it and support it in other ways. The 70th anniversary is an important opportunity to honour those people, past and present, so I would urge MPs to support these awards.”
MPs have until March 23rd to submit their nominations and can make one nomination in each of the 10 award categories. These nominations will then be judged by senior local and regional NHS experts to find a regional champion in each category, to be announced on May 21st.
The regional champions will then go through to a second round of judging, with the national winners announced at a special awards ceremony in the Houses of Parliament on July 4th – the day before the NHS’s 70th birthday.
Anyone is free to contact their local MP to suggest a nominee for the awards. You can do so through your MP’s local constituency office, by making contact through your MP’s website, or by ringing the House of Commons Switchboard on 020 7219 3000 and asking for your MP by name.