NHS health heroes recognised at awards ceremony

Margaret is pictured with 7 week old Zac Williamson. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Margaret is pictured with 7 week old Zac Williamson. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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Healthcare heroes who go above and beyond have been honoured at a glitzy award ceremony recognising the very best of the NHS.

The annual Celebrating Success Awards, held at the Corn Exchange last night, gave out gongs including the Health Hero award, which saw members of the public make their own nominations.

Play specialist, Margaret McEwan, who works at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, picked up the gong after being described as “one of a kind”. She was put forward for the Health Hero accolade by mum Jane Rennie, whose daughter Isabella was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of two.

Jane, who lives in Oxgangs, said: “Margaret was an immense source of support not only to my daughter but also to myself and my husband during the five months Isabella was in hospital. She completely excels in the service she provides.

“Isabella was terrified and very nervous but she became extremely fond of Margaret, who taught her songs and games which to this day she remembers.

“Our journey has been very up and down but Margaret always found a way for our family to look at things positively.Whenever we return to the hospital for scans or tests, Isabella always asks to see Margaret and, in her words, always has a ‘squishy, squashy hug’ for her.”

Margaret said: “I’m overwhelmed. I don’t think that I’m doing anything out of the ordinary. I just try to do my very best with each and every person who comes into the ward.”

She was one of nine NHS Lothian teams and staff members to collect awards at the ceremony hosted by Forth One’s Arlene Stuart.

South East Community Midwifery Team, based in Craigmillar Medical Centre, won in the Improving Patient Access category for their work helping women get access to contraception following childbirth.

Meanwhile, the Forensic Radiology Team, based in the Royal Infirmary, won in the Best Example of Innovation, Quality and Productivity category.

The team established the first dedicated service of its kind in Scotland using full body CT scanning to help establish the cause of death and were commended for their “kindness and professionalism”.

A new category introduced last year, the award recognises staff or teams who have taken steps to improve working practices and service within their department in order to benefit staff or patients.

Evening News editor Frank O’Donnell said that NHS Lothian staff showed “dedication, compassion and great skill” every day of the year.

He said: “We tend to think of heroes as people in capes or people that succeed in the sporting arena. But true heroes are those who give selflessly day in and day out and go the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of ordinary people. There are thousands of heroes working in our hospitals and they do not always get the recognition that they deserve.

“Congratulations to this year’s winners, they thoroughly deserve all the accolades coming their way.”

Other winners included James McGill, who was presented with the Voluntary Service Award for his work looking after the FACE garden at the Western General Hospital.

This category recognises the outstanding individuals and teams who give up their free time to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and their families and carers in Lothian.

Valerie McGowan, a Biomedical Scientist at the Royal Infirmary, was named Mentor of the Year for her “structured and easy-to-understand” way of mentoring which is always tailored to the individual.

The award is presented to a member of staff who not only performs their job to the best of their ability but shares their knowledge and expertise with colleagues, junior members of staff, students or placements.

It is for someone who really understands the importance of reassuring and supporting staff, takes responsibility for imparting knowledge and shares 
advice and acts as a “positive role model”.

Robbie Collins, a Clinical Support Worker, at the Royal Infirmary, was named Caring Champion of the Year for developing skills in play therapy for children receiving treatment.

Judges praised him for showing an “exceptional level of care and compassion” in his work and for creating a “welcoming and happy environment.”

The Domestic Services Team at Liberton Hospital was named Team of the Year for their work gaining more knowledge of Infection Prevention and Control.

Judges were looking for a team that has demonstrated an “excellent performance” throughout the year, good communication between managers and clinical staff and “improved outcomes” for patients.

Health bosses and attendees lined up to pay tribute to the dedication of “inspirational” employees from NHS Lothian for delivering outstanding care to patients.

Among them was Tim Davison, chief executive of NHS Lothian, who presented the awards and was joined on the night by representatives from Unison, the University of Edinburgh and Napier University and the Edinburgh Evening News.

He said: “I am always overwhelmed by our truly outstanding staff who go above and beyond their duties every day to deliver the very best patient care. The Celebrating Success Awards are a small way of saying a huge thank you to those staff who work so hard to provide the high-quality care and support NHS Lothian is so proud of.”