Healthcare assistants from across 13 London boroughs took centre stage at an award ceremony celebrating their contribution.
The event, hosted by Middlesex University on behalf of Health Education North Central and East London (NCEL), recognised outstanding compassionate care delivery by healthcare assistants (HCAs), with four picking up the top prizes.
22 award winners were presented with their certificates and cash prizes in front of an audience who heard moving nominations including one who had played a vital role in saving a woman’s life in a birth centre and another who was key in helping a grieving patient deal with the death of baby.
Prior to the awards, attendees listened to keynote speeches on the obstacles to caring and overcoming them, and the impact on clinical support staff in a post Francis report era. There were also presentations by HCAs and employers, and a poster exhibition highlighting the valuable work of HCAs across the region, made up of 77,000 staff.
HCA Alice Cooney, from Whittington Health who was one of the winners of the top prize for an outstanding contribution to the delivery of care and compassion, said: “HCAs are often the unsung heroes of the health service, so it’s been a beautiful day celebrating our contribution. I’ve been doing this for 21 years and to be recognised for something I love is wonderful. I’m overwhelmed.”
The event, titled ‘Delivering Care and Compassion: Recognising the contribution of clinical support staff’ held at the Middlesex University’s campus in Hendon, London, was attended by chief nurses, support workers in NCEL Trusts and key academics from London universities.
Dr Kay Caldwell, Head of Institute of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work at Middlesex University said: “HCAs are the unsung heroes of the health service, supporting nurses and other clinicians in providing compassionate care to people who are often scared and vulnerable. We heard some truly inspiring story that demonstrated what a vital role the HCAs play. I have been overwhelmed by their appreciation of having their contribution valued, an attendee told me that it made her feel very special, and we feel privileged to have been able to do so.”
Managing Director Health Education North Central and East London Professor Chris Fowler said: "It was inspiring and humbling to hear of the stellar contributions to patient care made by the prize winners. Congratulations to Middlesex University for a most memorable event in a stunning academic setting. It was a privilege to take part."
The four award winners of the prize for an outstanding contribution to the delivery of care and compassion were Alice Cooney, Kat Gantert, Rita Cornwell and Rommel Mabunga.
Photo: HCA Alice Cooney with Middlesex Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the School of Health and Education Jan Williams