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It’s never been more important for MPs to celebrate dedicated NHS staff

Stephen Powis

3 min read

The NHS Parliamentary Awards will return this year from 29 February. Now entering its seventh year, the awards are an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and dedication of NHS staff – without whom the NHS would not exist.

Since its creation in 2018, the NHS Parliamentary Awards have grown every year. In 2023, more than 750 individuals or teams were nominated by MPs – and this year, we hope to go further still.

While the NHS faces challenges, it remains the public’s most treasured institution. Up and down the country, NHS staff are working tirelessly to provide record levels of care for patients, with GPs delivering their highest ever numbers of appointments in 2023 and the highest ever January demand for A&E this year as well.

Last year’s NHS Long Term Workforce Plan was a major milestone for the health service. It set out not just how we will increase training places and routes to ensure local services can meet the needs of a growing and ageing population, but also how we will retain more of our staff by better meeting their needs, too, so that they can deliver their best work for patients.

A key part of that is recognising the contributions of NHS staff and those who support them – whether they be clinicians, allied health professionals, medical associates, therapists, volunteers, clerical staff, porters, emergency responders, or any other group in our varied workforce. And that’s where MPs, through the NHS Parliamentary Awards, can get involved.

I know from speaking to health leaders how much NHS staff value the awards, the recognition it gives to the exceptional work of local NHS services, and the opportunity to engage with their MPs to highlight this work at a national level.

The awards also highlight best practice and innovations implemented by local NHS teams, acting as a catalyst to spread them to other areas of the country. Last year, we had winners in everything from the use of AI to speed up heart disease diagnosis in Sheffield, to specialist health support for homeless people in Somerset. And who could forget the volunteer pet therapy team based at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth – those dogs certainly stole the show at the final ceremony.

From Thursday, 29 February, all MPs in England will again be able to nominate teams and individuals in their local area for this year’s awards across ten categories. Information will be sent to all MPs about how they can do so. As in previous years, local NHS teams also often get in touch with their local MPs to suggest nominations and encourage them to visit to see the excellent work being highlighted.

After the nomination phase ends in late April, a regional judging phase will help to sift the nominations, followed by a national judging panel – which I will be chairing this year – to decide the winners. The final ceremony will take place in the afternoon of Monday 1 July at the QEII Centre in Westminster, which all finalists and their MPs will be welcome to join.

On behalf of my NHS colleagues, I would encourage all MPs in England to nominate for the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2024 to celebrate the hard work and achievements of their local NHS staff. With the NHS providing an increasing and evolving range of treatments and services, there has never been a more important time for MPs to speak up for the incredible work of NHS staff in their constituencies. I think I speak for everyone in the NHS when I say we really appreciate that ongoing support.

Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England

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NHS Awards