Health Heroes

Cowshed helps celebrate NHS heroes by announcing return of Our Health Heroes Awards 2017

Today (11 July), Skills for Health and the National Skills Academy for Health have announced the return of the Our Health Heroes Awards, to recognise the hard work of even more of the UK’s healthcare workforce.

After a successful first year, the Awards have grown and will now also reward an Apprentice of the Year, the Workforce Planning Team of the Year and an Integrated Team of the Year, alongside the already established Clinical and Operational Healthcare Support Worker of the Year awards.

With the continued support from UNISON, new headline sponsorship from Health Education England and category sponsorship from The Open University, NHS England and NHS Improvement, the Our Health Heroes Awards will celebrate those that deliver the best in patient care and keep the NHS moving behind the scenes.

Healthcare staff from across the UK can be nominated by line managers and colleagues via Skills for Health’s website. Entrants will be shortlisted, then the national winners will either be chosen by public vote or by an expert panel, to be announced at the awards ceremony later this year.

John Rogers, Chief Executive at Skills for Health, said: “We are delighted to be bringing back the Our Health Heroes Awards for a second year. Last year, we rewarded support workers from across the UK but we wanted to cast the net wider and give even more healthcare staff the recognition they deserve, adding three new categories, meeting more Health Heroes and celebrating their hard work. The calibre of entries last year was phenomenal so we’re really looking forward to seeing what this year has to offer.”

The deadline for entries is 15th September, with the winners being announced at a ceremony on 21st November, at London’s OXO Tower.

Laura Roberts, Regional Director – North, Health Education England, said: “Recognising and celebrating the hard work and dedication of the NHS staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes is really important.

“HEE is delighted to be part of this important event which will showcase the contribution that staff make to the NHS every single day.”


Sara Gorton, Head of Health at UNISON, said: “The hard work and dedication of healthcare support staff goes unrecognised all too often. These awards are vital in showing just how much they’re valued.

“UNISON was proud to be a part of the Our Health Heroes Awards last year. We are delighted to be involved again as sponsors of the clinical and operational support worker categories.”

David Willett, Director of Corporate Sales at The Open University (OU), said: “We are delighted to sponsor the Apprentice of the Year in this year’s Our Health Heroes Awards.  The awards celebrate not only the crucial contribution support workers make to healthcare, but also recognises the vast potential opened up by apprenticeships to develop the skilled and capable workforce needed to address increasing challenges in health and social care services across clinical and non-clinical roles.

“The OU is working with employers in the sector to ensure the new wave of higher and degree apprentices will be the future leaders and practitioners so desperately needed to ensure a high-quality experience for patients/service users.”

Dr Marion Lynch, Deputy Director NHS England South Central, Workforce Lead, said: “When I think of the NHS I think of the million, amazing people who work with and within it and the millions of people who need it. We are proud to be working with our healthcare staff and public to define, design and deliver the services needed for now and for the future.


“I am delighted to be supporting this award for workforce planning and look forward to finding out about the inspirational ideas which will sustain and transform our health systems, staff skills and patient satisfaction.”


Ruth May, Executive Director of Nursing for NHS Improvement, said: “Making sure everyone receives high quality care is at the very core of what the NHS is about. Delivering that care as part of an integrated team, committed to deliver what a person needs, is absolutely invaluable. That is why I am delighted to support the Integrated Team of the Year Award at this year’s Our Health Heroes.

“The NHS is filled to the brim with people who go above and beyond what is needed and it is thanks to our staff that patients, their families and the wider community continue to trust and rely on an incredible service. I am grateful to all who work hard to serve the NHS and this year’s award is an example of the very best of our fantastic workforce.”

Spa Breaks will also return as headline Prize Sponsor, providing almost £3,000 worth of vouchers for the worthy winners.

Abi Wright, Co-Founder and Director at Spa Breaks, said: “The Our Health Heroes Awards is a fantastic programme and we are more than happy to be on board as prize sponsor again this year. These people work so hard every day to keep our hospitals running and we’re glad to be able to give them something back, even if it’s just a few hours of peace and relaxation!”


What are the awards categories?

Operational Services Support Worker of the Year, sponsored by UNISON

The returning category will see 12 support workers shortlisted, one for each UNISON region. Voting will then open to decide on two national winners.

Clinical Support Worker of the Year, sponsored by UNISON

The returning category will see 12 support workers shortlisted, one for each UNISON region. Voting will then open to decide on two national winners.

Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by The Open University

The first new category will reward healthcare apprentices from across the UK that have gone above and beyond in their role. Bronze, Silver and Gold awards will be presented at the ceremony.

Workforce Planning Team of the Year, sponsored by NHS England

Another new category will see teams commended for excellence in integrated workforce planning to address workforce and organisational issues. Bronze, Silver and Gold awards will be presented at the ceremony.

Integrated Team of the Year, sponsored by NHS Improvement

The last new category will celebrate one team that has worked seamlessly together to make sure they are always providing the best possible patient care. One outstanding integrated team will receive their award at the ceremony.

 For more information about Skills for Health, visit:


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