EXCELLENCE in healthcare across Wearside was celebrated at this year’s Echo Best of Health Awards.
More than 200 people gathered at the Quality Hotel, in Whitney Way, Boldon, for the glamorous bash as 10 gongs were handed out to worthy winners.
Echo deputy editor Richard Ord kicked off proceedings before guests enjoyed a sumptuous three-course meal.
Compere for the evening Steve Walls then took to the stage before the importance business of handing out the awards began.
Great-grandmother and Bluebird Care employee Jean Metcalf was first up as she took home the Carer of the Year honour.
Jean, who hails from Plains Farm in Sunderland, said she was shocked by stunned at her
Jean, who has 31 years’ experience of caring for patients, said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I didn’t think I’d win at all.
“I just love my job, caring for people and meeting people.
“I just want to thank everybody that has voted for me. I’m over the moon.”
Nicola Derry, who is part of the Adult Learning Disability Physiotherapy Team in Sunderland, was awarded the prize for Clinical Support.
Unfortunately, mum-of-three Nicola was unable to attend the awards night so her manager Tim Kelleher accepted it on her behalf.
Singing her praises, Tim said: “Nicola is one of the most conscientious workers out there. She always put the patient at the core of everything she does and I genuinely believe she is deserving of this award.”
Community Nurse of the Year went to paediatric nurse Kim Coxall, who works with youngsters battling asthma and other allergies. Those nominating Kim said “she is always there when needed and she is brilliant”.
Dedicated Kim, 42, from Tunstall, who has been a qualified nurse for over 20 years, said: “I’m really surprised to win, I didn’t expect it.
“It’s nice to know that what you do in your job is appreciated by people. You always here when things in the NHS have gone wrong, but it’s nice to hear when things are right too, which is what tonight is about.”
The team from Bluebird Care stormed the stage to collect the Community Team of the Year honour.
Staff help those with health problems to continue to live independently and have been praised for having a “non-judgmental attitude” towards those they care for.
Jane Hepworth, support worker at Bluebird, said: “We are chuffed to bits to win because we didn’t expect it.
“Bluebird is a great company to work for and we’re all pleased with what we do in our work every day.”
A double celebration beckoned for winner of the Customer Service Award Tracey Ord, who turned 50 just days before accepting her prize.
Tracey is an assistant chef and laundry assistant at Church View Care Home in her home town of Murton, and those nominating her praised her “exceptional customer service” in going the extra mile for residents.
An ecstatic Tracey said: “I’ve been working at the home for two years now and I love it.
“I love the residents and I love the people I work with too.
“I really wasn’t expecting to win, you expect to see people working in hospitals win, but I’ve won and I’m so happy.”
Hugely respected at Sunderland Royal Hospital, chest consultant Howell Clague was awarded Hospital Doctor of the Year for 2013.
Those nominating Dr Clague said he has often sacrificed his own personal time to ensure the patient is the priority.
After taking flexible retirement in 2010 he will be leaving the service in September.
Dr Clague, 63, said: “I’m very humbled to win this award.
“Sometimes it can be a very difficult job especially when people have had a difficult diagnosis.
“I need to say a thank you to the nurse specialists and also to the business managers for their work.
“I’m very grateful to them.”
Forward-thinking Hayley Agnew admitted she was emotional after being told she had won the Hospital Nurse/Midwife of the Year gong for helping prematurely born children from across Wearside.
Hayley, 29, from Chester-le-Street, has implemented a Buddy Scheme within the Neo-Natal Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital where she works.
Hayley said: “I’m just in shock that I’ve won. I absolutely love my job but it’s hard to explain why.
“I suppose it’s just seeing what you can do for the babies and the parents.
“It’s nice to be able to support parents through their journey and hopefully see a good outcome at the end.”
Nursing assistant Beverley Cook was recognised for her work at Cherry Knowle Hospital in Sunderland as she won the Mental Health and Learning Disability Nurse of the Year Award.
Beverley, who works with those suffering from acute illnesses, was praised for being a “calm, caring individual who brings a warm feel to those who are around her”.
The 39-year-old, of Seaham, said: “I can’t believe I’ve won.
“I like to think I treat people as I would want to be treated.
“The patients at Cherry Knowle have done nothing but shout “good luck” to me all week.
“I was telling them that I probably wouldn’t win, but I have.
“I’d like to thank the patients because they have all been lovely.”
Jose Robe collected the Mental Health and Learning Disability Team of the Year gong on behalf of Sunderland Primary Care and Psychological Wellbeing Service.
Jose, who is service manager of the team, said: “I’m absolutely chuffed. The team have worked really, really hard since coming together two years ago.”
Sixty staff have been able to take between 6,000 and 7,000 referrals a year from doctors, helping patients deal with anxiety and depression problems.
“They have been able to meet those targets and provide a really high quality service and we are getting very very good feedback about our work.
“I’m absolutely delighted for the team.”
The final honour of the night was given to Dr Crummie and Dr Gellia’s Surgery for the GP/Practice of the Year category.
Dr Arthur Crummie has recently retired following 27 years of loyal service at Monkwearmouth Health Centre, in Dundas Street. He has passed the reins over to Dr Karthil Gellia.
Judith Taylor, practice manager, said her team are grateful to those patients who took the time to nominate them for their work.
More than 2,100 people use the practice for their health appointments.
“This is fantastic for the practice,” said Judith.
“It’s such a privilege to serve the patients and to be recognised like this.
“And it’s great thing for Dr Crummie with him retiring and for the new doctor coming in. It gives us a great sense of achievement.
“We only have a staff of six so it makes it extra special for us to win this award.”
•FOR a full supplement on the awards night, see Tuesday’s Echo.
l CARER OF THE YEAR – Jean Metcalf
l CLINICAL SUPPORT AWARD – Nicola Derry
l COMMUNITY NURSE OF THE YEAR – Kim Coxall
l COMMUNITY TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD – Bluebird Care
l CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD – Tracey Ord
l HOSPITAL DOCTOR OF THE YEAR – Dr Howell Clague
l HOSPITAL NURSE/MIDWIFE OF THE YEAR – Hayley Agnew
l MENTAL HEALTH AND LEARNING DISABILITY NURSE OF THE YEAR – Beverley Cook
l THE MENTAL HEALTH AND LEARNING DISABILITY TEAM OF THE YEAR – Sunderland Primary Care and Psychological Wellbeing Service
l GP/PRACTICE OF THE YEAR – Dr Crummie and Dr Gellia
A SPECIAL thanks to our sponsors who made this year’s awards night possible.
l City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
l Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
l Bluebird Care