Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Beloved Porter amongst Winners at Whittington Health Staff Awards

19 Sep 2019

The team who cares for seriously ill and premature babies and a porter who has given decades of service were amongst individuals and teams who scooped awards at the annual Whittington Health Staff Awards held on Thursday 12 September.

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The award’s judges received over 450 nominations – nearly 10% of the trust’s workforce – across 13 categories which they whittled down to just four finalists for each award. The finalists and the people who had nominated them were invited to the awards ceremony at the Royal College of Physicians in Regent’s Park, Camden where the winners were announced.

The theme for the evening was “rise up and recognise success”. It reflected the fact that the trust, which provides Community, Hospital and Accident and Emergency care across Islington, Haringey and beyond is blessed with thousands of hardworking and caring staff. The point of the annual awards is to find and recognise the those people who rise to the top of their game, the people who go even further and work even harder for patients, relatives and their colleagues. The winners represented a wide range of the services we provide, from maternity to nutrition and dietetics, from education to frailty.

The ‘Patient Choice’ award went to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which cares for some of the Trust’s smallest and sickest patients. They were nominated by Eleni Christodoulou, mother of Georgia who was born weighing just 2lbs 7oz (1.1kg) in August 2017. In her nomination Eleni wrote:

“My tiny baby was whisked away to NICU as soon as she was born. I was wheeled down to NICU in the early hours to sit with my premmie baby. I was tired and very emotional – the nurse on duty gave me a box of tissues, a squeeze of the hand and simply said ‘she'll be fine and so will you, we'll take care of you both’.

“The staff were beyond patient and compassionate even though they often had a full ward. They always had time for what we thought might be stupid questions. They checked on my wellbeing every day, made me laugh and cry with their kind words and encouragement. They helped me, my partner and our eldest daughter through the hardest time of our lives and I could never thank them enough but will be eternally grateful.”

A special award also went to one of the Trust’s most loved colleagues who is due to retire at the end of the month after many years of service. The trust board unanimously chose John McConnell, ‘JJ’ to his friends, to receive the Chair’s Award. This is the only category not awarded via open nominations and each year it goes to a colleague who has demonstrated a particular dedication to bringing the values of the organisation into their day-to-day work.

He received a standing ovation from the whole room as he collected his award. He left many guests with a tear in their eye with his reflections on the importance of showing respect and supporting each other and patients during his acceptance speech.

Guests were also read a message of support from Local MP for Islington North Jeremy Corbyn, who said:

“I love Whittington Health, a great local community hospital and trust that has cared for me and my family. You are a team, from cleaners, catering, security, technicians, administrators, managers, midwives, AHPs, nurses, doctors and the senior team. A team can only achieve if they work together.

“It is amazing that almost 10 per cent of staff were nominated for awards so my congratulations to everyone nominated and the recipients.”

Speaking at the awards, Whittington Health CEO Siobhan Harrington said:

“Our staff are our NHS. Everyone across the trust does an amazing job every day, but it is absolutely right that once a year we take the chance to reward the very special people who have been nominated by their colleagues and patients for going above and beyond.

“I have now been CEO for two years and I can honestly say that I was never more proud or more humbled than when, as part of the judging team, I read all of the citations. Picking just 14 winners was an incredibly tough job so anyone who was nominated should be as proud of themselves as everyone at Whittington Health is of them.”

ENDS

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