Name your health heroes and give NHS staff a boost
THE leader of a radical Lothians drug recovery programme has appealed for the public to help in a search for the region’s unsung health heroes.
As part of the upcoming Celebrating Success awards, NHS Lothian will for the first time accept nominations from the public to recognise health workers’ outstanding service.
Dr David McCartney, clinical lead of Lothians and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme (LEAP), a community-based initiative for people trying to beat drug and alcohol problems, said nominations for the Health Hero award would help boost morale.
Any member of NHS Lothian’s 28,000 staff is eligible to be nominated – it could be a community midwife, speech therapist, physiotherapist, nurse or doctor.
The appeal has also been backed by the Evening News, which has teamed up with NHS Lothian to support the new award category.
Dr McCartney, pictured below – shortlisted for the Doctor of the Year award in 2010 – said: “I think the first thing this does is draw attention to a particular health service, team or individual, and highlights the good work that team is doing and that more people can have access to that service.
“Our own service offers help to people with alcohol and drug addiction problems. But people in addiction might not know our service exists and an award like this draws attention to it. It highlights that the service is there and that it does what it does.
“For the team itself and whoever is being nominated, it really reinforces that you are doing a good job. It boosts self-esteem and your belief in the service.”
The announcement of the new award comes after NHS Lothian acknowledged it was facing significant challenges. The health board is battling to get waiting times under control and is also attempting to change its management culture following a damning report earlier this year.
Dr McCartney said public nominations would help redress the balance by emphasising the benefits provided by health workers. He said: “Sometimes the health service gets lots of negative publicity or things are highlighted when they go wrong – but many more things go right than go wrong. It really hits morale when things do not go as well as they might so it’s good when the positives are highlighted.”
He added: “Drug addiction services are often seen as a Cinderella specialism which does not attract the attention and positive feedback that others, such as paediatrics and cancer care, get. So it is lovely to have some positive attention for the field of drug addiction.
“We are a very tightly bound team so when someone gets a prize or a nomination then it’s shared among the team.”
Tim Davison, NHS Lothian chief executive, said: “By submitting a nomination for the Health Hero Award you are helping us recognise the unsung heroes who provide outstanding care for patients.”
• To nominate your Health Hero, visit www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk and follow the link or call 0131-465 5710
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