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Three North West Initiatives Scoop Gongs at National NHS Parliamentary Awards 2021 Ceremony

7 July 2021

THREE NHS initiatives from the North West were honoured for their work during a ceremony opened by the Prime Minister to recognise, and celebrate, some of the biggest achievements in health and social care today.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust’s Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network, Mersey Care NHS FT’s Life Rooms, and Dr Rajiv Sethi, all scooped gongs at this year’s NHS Parliamentary Awards, respectively winning in the categories of Wellbeing at Work, Excellence in Mental Health Care, and NHS Rising Star.

The awards, arranged by the NHS, and supported by Fuji Film, are designed to recognise, and celebrate some of the biggest achievements in health and social care.

The three North West winners were among seven other winners announced during a ceremony opened by the Prime Minister at One Great George Street, Westminster, on Wednesday afternoon.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, gave the closing address at the ceremony.

The Wellbeing at Work Award - The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Staff Network

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University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust’s BAME Network leads are a diverse team of volunteers dedicated to supporting BAME colleagues. The team go beyond their NHS day jobs to support and advocate for BAME colleagues and raise these themes to influence policy and procedure. This year, Covid-19 has impacted BAME communities significantly and disproportionately, and the team has risen to the challenge to protect BAME colleagues' physical and psychological wellbeing as best as possible through a stressful and worrying time.

Hannah Chandisingh, UHMBT's Transformation Lead for Race Equality and BAME Staff Network member, said: "I am so proud to be a part of our BAME Staff Network today, as winners of the NHS Parliamentary Award for Wellbeing at Work. 

"We know that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on healthcare workers from an ethnic minority background. Throughout the pandemic, the network leads really have gone above and beyond to make sure that colleagues are safe and well - whether being a listening ear and providing support, organising alternative PPE, advocating for those too worried to go to their managers about their safety, championing vaccination, or even organising supplies of vitamin D."

David Wilkinson, Director of People and Organisational Development, UHMBT, said "The dedication and commitment of our Inclusion and Diversity Team, working closely with our colleague support networks, has been integral to keeping our colleagues safe and supported through the pandemic. I am delighted that their collective hard work and passion has been recognised in such a testing year, and beyond thankful that they have been here through it all to make such a difference to colleagues in need."

Tim Farron MP, who nominated the network, alongside fellow MPs Simon Fell, David Morris, and Cat Smith, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Staff Network have won this NHS Parliamentary Award.

“This award is in recognition of the amazing work they do in championing the diversity of the workforce, fighting for equality and providing enormous support to staff during the immense pressures of  the last 16 months.”

The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award, sponsored by Lloyds Banking Group - The Life Rooms

Mersey Care NHS FT’s three Life Rooms across the North West, provide a safe and welcoming place to access community resources and help people feel included in community activities. During Covid-19 the buildings were closed due to restrictions, but within two weeks of lockdown the team created ‘Life Rooms Online’ in order to continue to actively support communities at a time when they were needed most – supporting people’s mental and physical wellbeing.

Michael Crilly, Mersey Care’s Director of Social Inclusion & Participation at the Life Rooms, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to accept this award and are thrilled at the recognition given to everyone at the Life Rooms who worked so hard to support our service users and our local communities during the pandemic.

“Once everything went into the first lockdown last year, we were concerned how that would impact people’s physical and mental wellbeing. I was incredibly proud of our response because within two weeks of closing our buildings our teams launched ‘The Life Rooms Online, transferring our health and wellbeing courses onto video, while our pathway advisors and support workers proactively outreached to the most vulnerable people in our society to provide both practical and emotional support. “

Dan Carden MP, who nominated The Life Rooms, said: “The Life Rooms provides a safe and welcoming space for my constituents to access resources, learn new skills, build a sense of community and cultivate positive mental health and wellbeing. I was delighted to nominate the team for an NHS Parliamentary Award.”

Group Sustainable Business Director at Lloyds Banking Group, Fiona Cannon, said: “Huge congratulations to all of those involved in the Life Rooms. The services they provide are crucial to the mental health and well-being of the people in their community, especially during these difficult times.

“Lloyds Banking Group is delighted to have been able to sponsor the ‘Excellence in Mental Health’ category of the NHS Parliamentary awards, and I would like to pay tribute to everyone shortlisted. The work you do is invaluable at any time, but especially during the pandemic and is an important part of the process of helping Britain recover. We at Lloyds, working alongside our charity partner Mental Health UK, are determined to play our part and help support those who are in the front line.”

The NHS Rising Star Award, sponsored by Fujifilm UK - Dr Rajiv Sethi

Dr Rajiv Sethi, began his career with the NHS by volunteering at Trafford General Hospital aged 16. Now 28, he has become a junior doctor in the North West of England, clinical entrepreneur fellow at NHS England and honorary research fellow at Heath Education England. Alongside his clinical training he has led widening participation and diversity efforts to develop the health workforce nationally since 2017.

He has also established the UKs largest widening participation programme supporting over 4,500 aspiring and current healthcare professionals.

During the pandemic, Rajiv and his team supported healthcare students and professionals virtually through a series of virtual events bringing together 2,500 people from 74 countries to learn more about career opportunities in the NHS.

He established the first national discussion between the General Medical Council and medical students in the UK at the start of the pandemic, which trended on UK Twitter at no.4 and reached 1.6 million globally. This helped develop awareness of the new roles for students during the pandemic and the interim junior doctor positions that were created.

Nominated by Sir Graham Brady MP who said: ‘‘I am delighted that the work of Dr Rajiv Sethi is being recognised, having seen at first hand the good work that he does introducing young people to the exciting and rewarding world of careers in the healthcare sector.”

Managing Director of Fujifilm UK, Yoshitaka Nakamura, said: “It has been an honour to play a part in celebrating the work of our healthcare heroes, who together showcase an incredible level of care and compassion – in particular, our inspiring NHS Rising Star Award winner, Dr Rajiv Sethi, who has demonstrated remarkable innovation in widening diversity initiatives within the NHS, all while completing his clinical training. Congratulations to Rajiv and to all nominees at this year’s awards.”

MPs across the country sent hundreds of examples of staff and teams who have gone above and beyond the call of duty including doctors, support workers and volunteers who worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to make a difference to the people they care for.

The winners have been selected from more than 700 nominations and were judged by a national panel made up of senior leaders representing both staff and patients.

NHS staff were this week awarded the George Cross for 73 years dedicated service and the response to COVID by Her Majesty the Queen.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, said: “Since the NHS first opened its doors 73 years ago, our health service has faced the biggest challenge in its history with a pandemic on a scale not seen for a century.

“Staff have come together as never before, saving and improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients at an extremely difficult time for everyone.  

“All of the nominees put forward for an award this year have done incredible work, and it is a great honour to be able to award our winners with the recognition they deserve for their incredible service to us all.”

Bill McCarthy, Regional Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the North West, said: “It’s a huge point of pride to see three such worth initiatives recognised from the North West in amongst today’s NHS Parliamentary Award winners.

“The last year and a half have been the most challenging the NHS has ever faced, but staff across health and care have shown tremendous resilience, compassion and dedication throughout, putting patients first at every step, with the recipients of these awards exemplifying that.

“I’d like to offer my sincere congratulations to all of the winners in the North West and my gratitude to them for their efforts, and for the long-lasting and genuine impact their work will have for patients in the region and across the country.”

Chief Midwifery Officer for England and NHS Parliamentary Awards committee chair, Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, said: “This year has been an exceptional one, both in terms of the challenges we have faced and the calibre of entrants we received to the awards. Our shortlisting teams had an extremely difficult task to select from more than 700 nominations submitted by over half of all MPs representing English constituencies. It has been incredibly difficult to judge, but we are confident that all our winners embody the skill, professionalism and compassion of the NHS.

“I hope that these awards go some way in honouring the contribution these inspiring people and teams have made for their country.”