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The NHS Parliamentary Awards will celebrate the best of our health service across the country

The NHS is preparing to mark its 75th anniversary (Alamy)

3 min read

When we launched the NHS Parliamentary Awards five years ago nobody could have known how much they would come to mean to our brilliant, dedicated staff.

These awards to pay tribute to the enormous talent, hard work and commitment of the incredible people who make up the NHS. Seeing MPs and their constituents recognise the lengths they go to, day in day out, for patients and their loved ones has been a much-needed boost during some challenging times.

As the NHS prepares to mark its 75th birthday, your support has been stronger than ever before, with almost 750 nominations from over half of all MPs representing constituencies in England. Of course, NHS staff continue to deal with the immense challenge that Covid has presented to the health service.

The winter saw a twindemic of flu and Covid which at its’ peak saw patients with the viruses taking up around one in 10 hospital beds, and our urgent and emergency services under greater pressure than ever before. But that has not prevented staff from making significant progress on our core priorities.

Last month, we were able to announce that the number of patients waiting more than 18 months for elective treatment fell by more than 90 per cent compared to September 2021. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the 62-day cancer backlog fell year-on-year, and ambulance response times for urgent calls were the lowest in almost two years. The innovation and work ethic that has underpinned that progress is evident across the nominees for this year’s awards.

“Ambulance response times for urgent calls were the lowest in almost two years”

In Swindon, the Integrated Care Alliance Coordination Centre is ground-breaking in the way it displays live reporting of every patient currently in the hospital and every ambulance on route to the site. Tracking patients in real-time allows the team to identify where a patient’s needs can best be met and enables them to pre-alert other departments to a patient’s arrival, so they don’t need to attend the emergency department. The result of this innovation has been a 48.2 per cent decrease in ambulance handover delays, and an 11 per cent decrease in urgent and emergency care attendances compared with September 2022.

In Sheffield, a new artificial intelligence tool has been developed by doctors to speed up diagnosis for thousands of NHS heart patients by rapidly spotting damage seen on MRI scans. This game-changing tool has been rolled out across Sheffield teaching hospitals and is now ready to be made available across the NHS.

And of course, the NHS has always benefitted from the support of partners and volunteers to deliver the best possible care for patients. This is something we were keen to recognise this year in our brand-new volunteering award category.

Amazing examples of partnership came flooding in, including Salford Royal’s Volunteer Dining Companion’s legion of 105 volunteers, who have provided companionship and support at mealtimes to 4,500 of the trust’s most vulnerable and complex patients – making a huge difference to their stay in hospital, while also freeing up staff time to focus on clinical care.

Whether the eventual winners come from Salford, Swindon, Sheffield or elsewhere, the NHS Parliamentary Awards ceremony will be an opportunity not just to reflect on the achievements of the past year, but to glimpse the future of a service that has continued to adapt and innovate over the last 75 years.

So please do join us on 5th July – the 75th anniversary of our founding – at Queen Elizabeth II Centre as we recognise NHS staff, partners and volunteers from across England, whether or not you have a nominee in the running for an award. We look forward to seeing you there.

Amanda Pritchard is chief executive of NHS England. 

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Read the most recent article written by Amanda Pritchard - The NHS plan for winter uses new technology and hard work to deliver for those who need us