The fantastic service our NHS provides would not be possible without the passion and dedication of its staff. Especially during the pressures of the pandemic, NHS workers have gone above and beyond to support and care for not only their patients, but also their colleagues. The welfare of NHS staff is paramount to the delivery of services and the retention of staff, and our local Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital Trust have led the way in work to support staff welfare and wellbeing through such difficult times. Key to this has been the work of their catering team, supported by the Trust leadership, to transform the catering service into a wellbeing hub, providing fresh, seasonal healthy food on site in a way that is engaging, appealing and sustainable, and also supports local businesses and schools.
I am therefore delighted to have the opportunity to nominate the team for an NHS Parliamentary Award to recognise their transformational work, and acknowledge the innovative leadership of the Trust in prioritising staff wellbeing in such a way.
However, when submitting my nomination I was incredibly disappointed to note that there does not appear to be a category to recognise the work of staff who are not ‘front line’, or who work to support colleagues, not just patients.
All NHS staff play a vital role, whether they are doctors, nurses, administrators, cleaners, HR, or the Executive team, and I believe all exceptional work across the NHS should be able to be recognised during these awards. I have therefore written to the Chief Executive of NHS England, with a copy sent to the Secretary of State for Health, urging them to see how this can be addressed, and requesting the creation of a new category so MPs nominations to the NHS Parliamentary awards can reflect the importance of supporting our workforce, as well as the excellent front line services our NHS delivers.