Our Health Heroes guest blog: celebrating both the diversity of one NHS team, while celebrating individuality & the enormous collective contribution to society

Photo of Sara Gorton

Our Health Heroes Awards simply could not happen year-on-year without the incredible ongoing support of our partners, and since we launched in 2016 the team at UNISON have been by our side, every step of the way.

With the core aim of our annual healthcare awards aligning closely with UNISON’s longstanding One Team campaign – that every single one of our NHS people plays a vital role in the delivery of patient care – together we continue to raise awareness that everyone, no matter their role, is deserving of reward and recognition for their valuable contribution to the health and care of our UK population.

For the sixth consecutive year running, supporting the Award categories of ‘Exceptional NHS Operational Support Worker’ and ‘Breakthrough Apprentice of the Year’, Sara Gorton, UNISON’s head of health, shares with us why it is so important now more than ever, to keep up the momentum of championing our entire NHS workforce.

“UNISON is once again proud to be sponsoring these two long-standing Our Health Heroes categories. We’ve been with Our Health Heroes since the inception of the awards in 2016 and they’re ­so important to us because they recognise and celebrate the vital roles that often go unrecognised in our health service.

The Awards perfectly reflect our own One Team campaign, that stresses that every single person in our health service matters and plays a vital role. And this one team approach is even more vitally important now, after the last two years we’ve all gone through.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected frontline staff. We’ve always known it takes a wide, diverse, skilled workforce, often working behind the scenes, to keep the NHS running. Now, the whole country knows that everyone is on the NHS frontline. They’ve been in the eye of the storm, both personally and professionally.

At UNISON we hope that in sponsoring and promoting these awards we continue to drive awareness for the impact that the pandemic has had on all health staff, across all four nations of the UK.

In particular, the Apprentice of the Year award continually shines a spotlight on the vast number of up-and-coming stars of the future. Highlighting how valuable apprenticeships are as a vital route into healthcare careers, in both clinical and operational roles. With the NHS facing serious staffing shortages, it is more important now than ever, that all routes into health care are championed and promoted.

The huge efforts made by all of our NHS, health and social care staff in the face of adversity throughout the pandemic also needs to be recognised and the Our Health Heroes Awards rightly focus on this crucial work, celebrating both the incredible diversity of the one team, while celebrating individuality and the enormous collective contribution to society.

The NHS simply cannot function without its entire team and the dedication, expertise and strength of all NHS employees must never be taken for granted.

Cleaners, receptionists, porters, security staff and all the others in the NHS family keep the public safe and cared for when they need support the most. And this is why the Operational Support worker category is so critical in paying tribute, recognising and rewarding them.

Our Health Heroes acknowledges the small things that staff do that makes a big difference to patients or colleagues, and UNISON remains committed and proud to be a partner of the awards for 2022. I encourage everyone to get involved, share with you colleagues and make your nomination here today.”


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