Meet the Lothians health heroes who go the extra mile

Award nominee Rachel Capaldi
Award nominee Rachel Capaldi
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They may just think they’re doing their day jobs, but patients across Edinburgh and the Lothians have come out in record numbers to recognise their health hero who has gone above and beyond to provide exceptional care.

Judges have had the tough job of whittling down the impressive list of NHS Lothian nominations to just three outstanding candidates.

Linsey Duncan and Kim Venton from the Community Rehabilitation and Brain Injury Service (CRABIS) team at Carmondean Ability Centre, Livingston, have been nominated. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Linsey Duncan and Kim Venton from the Community Rehabilitation and Brain Injury Service (CRABIS) team at Carmondean Ability Centre, Livingston, have been nominated. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Medical secretary Chris Williamson, cardiology nurse Rachael Capaldi and the Community Rehabilitation and Brain Injury Service (CRABIS) make up the shortlist. All the nominees will be hoping to pick up the prestigious Health Hero Award.

The honour is one of ten awards at the NHS Lothian Celebrating Success Awards, which will be presented at a ceremony at the Corn Exchange on Wednesday.

Chris, 47, of the oncology department at Western General Hospital, was nominated by Susan Johnston whose husband was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in September last year.

She said: “I had no one to talk to and felt that no one was listening to me. Nothing was too much bother for him.

Nominee Christopher Williamson

Nominee Christopher Williamson

“His voice was always steady and reassuring. I can’t thank the man enough.”

Chris said: “People come in here feeling vulnerable, isolated and frightened and I do what I can to support them.

“These are people who are suffering or know someone close to them suffering with cancer. They are not just patients.

“Whatever worries you feel, you have just become irrelevant and you stop your workload to listen.”

Being a cardiology nurse Rachael Capaldi sees and treats people whose lives have been turned upside down.

Linzi Mckendrick said in her nomination: “Rachael is a hardworking, kind and caring individual, who puts other people’s needs ahead of her own.

“She not only helps those in need, but offers them support and comfort.”

Rachael, 27, said: “People come to us when one minute they will be absolutely fine and the next they have suffered a heart attack.

“If I can do something that can make them feel safe and understand they’re in the right hands, then it makes me feel like I have made a difference.”

CRABIS provides multi-disciplinary assessment and rehabilitation within the home or community setting to individuals over the age of 16 who live in West Lothian and who have a physical disability and/or an acquired brain injury.

In August 2016, Tracey McNiven had lost all the feeling and sensation below her waist and spent several months in hospital after being diagnosed with functional neurological disorder (FND).

She said: “With the help, support and encouragement of the CRABIS team, I am no longer wheelchair bound.

“I have returned to work and I feel like I have my life back.”

Emma Williams, 36, is a clinical psychologist at the Strathbrock Partnership Centre. She said: “It can get emotional when you see a happy ending and to know you’ve contributed to someone’s recovery.”