A FINAL call has been made for the public to nominate their unsung health heroes as part of an awards scheme honouring the best of the NHS.
For the fourth year, the Evening News has teamed up with NHS Lothian for the Health Hero award to spotlight surgeons, nurses and other health workers who demonstrate a tireless commitment to their patients.
Consultant cardiologist Dr Neal Uren is the latest health worker to receive a nomination for the award, thanks to his faultless care of patient Anne Hossein after she was diagnosed with coronary heart disease more than ten years ago.
Ms Hossain, of Prestonpans, needed to have triple heart bypass surgery to manage her illness as well as more than ten angiograms, in which a catheter is inserted into an artery through the leg or wrist to measure how effectively the heart is pumping.
The 59-year-old said Dr Uren helped her through some of her darkest times.
Ms Hossain said: “Over the years I have got to know him well and he could not have been more supportive.
“After my surgery I was in constant pain, so he’s been there for me through some really bad times. He’s brilliant. He really makes you feel at ease, talks through the procedure, puts your favourite music on. Things like an angiogram can be quite scary. I’ve had so many now it’s just like having teeth out but I really don’t think I’d be here without his support. I can’t fault the man in any way. He is always thinking about his patients, checking how you are doing after surgery. You are not just a number. I can’t thank him enough.”
The nomination came as a surprise to Dr Uren, who is clinical director of cardiac services at the Edinburgh Heart Centre at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He said: “It was a complete surprise when I was nominated. I was actually very humbled when I heard it was from that particular patient, who has had a bit of a rollercoaster journey. You just think, I was doing my job.”
Dr Uren, who has been at the ERI for 17 years, worked on a 2006 study into a landmark treatment for heart disease.
Nominations have poured in for the Health Hero award, with nominees including play specialist Margaret McEwan, who was put forward by mum Jane Rennie for her outstanding care of her four-year-old daughter Isabella at the Sick Kids Hospital after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
The Rheumatology Team in Ward 75 at the Western General Hospital has also been nominated, by Gillian Paterson, who was overwhelmed by their compassion when her husband Stephen was diagnosed with spinal cancer.
Deadline for nominations is tomorrow, but entries posted in time which arrive afterwards will still be counted.
Research nurse Heather Vicars won last year’s award for her outstanding care of patients in breast cancer trials at the Western General, while diabetes nurse Gayle McRobert scooped the prize in 2013.
The NHS Celebrating Success awards will be presented by Radio Forth star Arlene Stuart at a glittering ceremony on June 19 at Edinburgh Corn Exchange.