A campaigner for better patient care, a much-loved hospital porter and a former British prime minister made the top 70 in a poll of NHS standout stars.
As part of the NHS 70th Birthday celebrations, the campaign saw patients, staff and public nominating people who have made an exceptional contribution to patient care, services and local communities over the last 70 years.
The campaign, called “Health and Care’s Top 70 Stars” was launched by the NHS Confederation, along with NHS England and NHS Improvement.
Nominations were put to a public vote in May, resulting in the shortlist of 70 winners.
Nominations and voting was open to anyone who worked for the NHS and wider health and care sector over the past 70 years in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, whether still living or since passed. In total, there were 236 nominations received.
The top 70 winners were awarded at the NHS 7Tea party at Confed18, the NHS Confederation’s annual conference, in Manchester.
The first-place winner was Dr Bijay Sinha, who works as a consultant on a ward at Barts Health NHS Trust known for high discharge rates and low readmission rates.
“I feel delighted to be appreciated by patients, and my colleagues,” said Dr Sinha.
“My philosophy at my work is, let your work do the talking, not your mouth. I always credit the patients for my success. All along my career, they have helped me to be a good doctor.
“My multidisciplinary team is the best in the hospital. I’m lucky to be part of it. If it’s an orchestra, I’m the conductor. I can’t be anything without them. Last but not, least, I’d like to thank my family. Without their support, I would not have achieved this.”
The second-place winner was Dr Sanjeev Nayak, a consultant interventional neuroradiologist at University Hospitals of North Midlands, who introduced and pioneered mechanical thrombectomy for stroke patients in the UK.
“I am delighted to be a winner,” said Dr Nayak.
“It’s a recognition for the service that we have been running for a decade now. It’s a great honour to be recognised for this award, for all the work done by our team. I want to thank my team, and I also want to thank my family for being patient with the time that I’ve spent away from them to make sure this service is successfully implemented.”
The third-place winner was the late Dr Kate Granger, an English geriatrician and campaigner for better patient care. She worked for the Mid-Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust, and founded the #hellomynameis campaign. Dr Granger died in 2016 from a rare form of incurable cancer.
Chris Pointon, Dr Granger’s husband, received the award on her behalf.
“Kate would be extremely proud of being included in these awards as part of the 70th celebration of the birthday of the NHS,” said Pointon.
“The NHS gave Kate her career but also looked after Kate through her journey with cancer.
“Kate loved the NHS, and everything it was about, from being free at the point of usage, to the whole ethos behind the establishment of the NHS. Despite being terminally ill, she still wanted to make a difference within the NHS.”
Other winners included a doctor with a three-decade career who works with patients with substance misuse problems and a hospital porter loved by staff and patients.
Coming in at number 10 was former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who presided over the greatest expansion of the NHS since its foundation.
Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“As many in Britain believe, the NHS is one of the most remarkable institutions in our country. And our tireless staff – all 1.5 million of them – are what make it so remarkable.
“By recognising members of our NHS workforce, and those on the outside who helped shape the system, we wanted to both celebrate the past and shape the future of health and care.
“The extremely diverse and varied list of winners who have dedicated their careers for a better system of health and care deserve no less than our recognition and honour.”
Ruth May, the executive director of nursing at NHS Improvement, said:
“These awards give us a chance to thank all those who have made the NHS the nation’s most loved institution for the past 70 years.
“Not least the people who make up the 350 different roles in the NHS workforce. They have dedicated their lives to providing compassionate care and treatment to people up and down the country.
“The 70 standout stars deserve our personal gratitude.”