NHS heroes celebrate their success at ceremony

Emma Campbell, Lynn Rose and Gill Thomson were handed their Health Hero award by News writer Lizzy Buchan
Emma Campbell, Lynn Rose and Gill Thomson were handed their Health Hero award by News writer Lizzy Buchan

The unsung heroes of the health service have been honoured at a glamorous ceremony celebrating the best of the NHS.

The NHS Lothian Celebrating Success Awards gave out 10 gongs to the health workers going the extra mile to help others, including the public-nominated Health Hero award, which is backed by the Evening News.

Midwives Lynn Rose, 51, and Emma Campbell, 33, and medical photographer Gill Thomson, 37, picked up the Health Hero award for their work with bereaved parents at St John’s Hospital, in Livingston.

Emma, of Tranent, said: “It’s just brilliant to get this honour, as we had no idea we would win. You never know what people think. Working with SANDS [the stillbirth and neonatal death charity ] has helped that feedback, and keeps us up to date with what happens to families.

“We are a great team and I hope we will continue to be a great team.”

Other unsung heroes honoured included Frank Milloy and Colin Penman, who work as “Lary Buddy” volunteers at St John’s Hospital, where they help people who have had their voice boxes removed after cancer.

The duo, who have both had laryngectomies, received a standing ovation when they collected the Voluntary Service Award together.

Judges praised the pair for using humour to break down barriers with people struggling to regain their voices. Colin, of Whitburn, has been volunteering for around two years after he went through the procedure himself.

The 57-year-old said: “We are absolutely over the moon to be recognised. I just wanted to give something back really. I love it, it gives me a purpose.”

ERI nursery nurse Maureen Pearson, 67, scooped the inaugural Lynn Jackson Nurse of the Year award, in memory of a much-loved Edinburgh nurse who died in 2014 after a year-long battle with breast cancer. Maureen, who has worked as a nurse for 36 years, said: “It is an absolutely amazing feeling to win. I just love what I do. I should be retired. But when I go into the changing room in the morning and think, ‘Should I cut back?’, I just think, I couldn’t give it up.”

Domestic services deputy manager Yvonne Dickson won the Mentor of the Year award for her “selfless” approach to helping run an internship programme for young people with disabilities at the Western General Hospital.

South East Scotland Healthcare Services in Police Custody and Forensic Services were honoured for improving access for vulnerable and challenging patients in these settings.

Jenny Jacob, a staff nurse at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre, won the prestigious staff member of the year award. She was singled out for her dedication and outstanding patient care. Jenny, who lives in the Pleasance, said: “I suppose I treat the patients like friends. I want them to have the best journey that they can and I go out of my way to do that.”

A project to help black and ethnic minority nurses won the Respect for Others prize, while the ELSIE (East Lothian Service for Integrated Care for the Elderly) scheme won Team of the Year for working to reduce delayed discharge and keep elderly people out of hospital.

Joyce Ryan, ward clerkess from the Orchard Clinic at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, won the gong for Caring Champion after impressing judges with her “caring attitude”.

A team from maternity services were hailed for an innovative project helping mothers recover more quickly after a caesarean section.

All winners received wooden awards in the shape of a heart, made by Grassmarket Community Project volunteers.

Chairman Brian Houston told the winners: “You are all already winners in the eyes of your colleagues, your patients and certainly in my eyes.”

The awards, presented by Forth One’s Arlene Stuart, were supported by the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation.