THE achievements of members of staff at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust have been celebrated at socially distanced ESHT Awards ceremonies spread out over three separate locations.

Three main awards were given this year – the People’s Choice Award winner and Runner Up and the Chairman’s Award, compared with the normal 15 awards.

At the ceremonies, there was recognition for 18 members of staff who have achieved over 40 years’ service to the NHS.

Steve Phoenix, Trust Chairman said, “In these challenging times we still wanted to recognise the work of our dedicated staff, who over the past few months have been heroic.

Our award ceremony has been scaled down this year from our normal event due to Covid but we still wanted to thank everyone in the organisation.

We are sending a thank you card to all our 7,000 plus staff and volunteers along with a Covid service badge.

Everyone has tirelessly striven to deliver the best possible care during an unpresented period in the history of the NHS.

The awards were also an opportunity to recognise the work of those who have given over 40 years’ service to the NHS and local community. As Chairman, I am immensely proud of everyone at ESHT.”

The award winners were as follows:

  • The People’s Choice Award, was awarded to Dr Graham Whincup – Consultant paediatrician.

Dr Graham Whincup retired in May 2020 but stayed on and undertook bank work throughout Covid. Patients nominated members of staff and teams and Dr Whincup was the unanimous choice of the judging panel (conducted virtually this year) of local MPs and representatives from Healthwatch. He received 5 nominations in total. Extracts from these nominations read.

“He is just amazing! He goes above and beyond in everything. If we didn’t have him as a doctor my daughter would had been quiet poorly and missed out on vital tests. We cannot thank him enough for his continued support and professionalism. We honestly don’t know where we would be without Dr Whincup.”

“Dr Whincup always goes the extra mile and always has time to listen to our worries and questions. There have been times over the years when our son has been very ill, knowing that we have Dr Whincup not too far away has eased our worry. Our family, including Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles are all extremely grateful that Dr Whincup has been looking after our son. He really shines as a doctor and is a credit to the NHS.”

“Dr Whincup has been our life line over the last 9 years when our daughter was first diagnosed with her illness.  He is always at the end of the phone, seeing our daughter  ASAP and nothing is ever too much trouble! Our daughter always puts her trust in him and so do we! We class him our friend as well as our daughter’s consultant. In our eyes and I’m sure many others nobody deserves this award more. Thank you Dr Whincup for everything.”

“I cannot express enough how brilliant the care has been under this wonderful man. Dr Whincup has 100’s of patients but he always make you feel you are the important one. There will never be another Dr Whincup, he’s a wonderful man.”

“Dr Whincup’s friendly and open manner puts everyone at ease, my daughter feels better just seeing him at consultation. He instils confidence without ever dismissing concerns. His explanations are amazing and easily understood. My daughter feels she can ask questions and is never left with concerns. He is easily contacted and goes the extra mile every time to ensure my daughter gets brilliant care. I can’t thank him enough.”

  • The People’s Choice Award runner up was Pevensey Day Unit. The unit provides chemotherapy treatment for patients with cancer. Extracts from three nominations received about the unit read.

“Every member of staff from cleaners to matron are exceptional people – kind, loving, patient, always smiling, funny, professional and helpful. I’ve been having chemo for 9 months. Today is my last one and I joking said to the ward clerk “do I get a bottle of Prosecco?” and he produced a small one for me from behind the counter and gave it to me! This is a lovely thing.”

“I have had great treatment and looked after with fantastic staff and Ashley is the best.”

“Kindness – Polite always – Nurses are wonderful – Helpfulness Excellent – Food service excellent – enjoyed being here getting my treatment over last 4 years – they all deserve this award – Wonderful unit.”

  • The Chairman’s Award was presented to the Bexhill Irvine Unit.

The nomination read: “Bexhill Irvine Unit was never planned to be a Covid hotspot and changed from “green” to “red” in the space of 48 hours, due to a number of patients and staff contracting Covid.  They responded magnificently, adopting new practices, changing rotas, implementing Covid preventive measures, dealing with families and relatives.  They continued to provide active support to the acute hospitals increasing discharge flow rates.”

“The Irvine Unit maintained its consistently high standards of care while meeting these challenges, earning plaudits from patients, families, and colleagues in the acute hospitals alike.  They exemplified the Trust’s values – working together across the organisation, showing rapid improvement in response to Covid, working with compassion for their patients and respect for families and each other, being engaged and involved in the planning of care.  In a year in which people and teams across the organisation rose to a once-in-a-generation challenge Bexhill Irvine Unit exemplified the resilience, courage, and commitment to care to which we all aspire.”

Over the three ceremonies, six people were presented with 40 years long service award:

  • Amanda Edwards – Theatre Practitioner  joined in Oct 1979 staff nurse in theatres and has spent her whole career in theatres
  • Wendy Elfick – Site team urgent care –  joined in Oct 1979 as an auxiliary nurse- undertook SEN training then become a staff nurse in 1996
  • Louise Gausden – Paediatrics- Joined in September 1979 as has worked for just over 40 years as a HCA – she worked nights on most wards but soon became a permanent member of staff on Friston 
  • Lesley Carter – Matron joined in 1979 as student nurse. Now a matron in Ophthalmic day surgery Bexhill hospital
  • Janice Whiteman – Healthcare Assistant joined in August 1979 as a housekeeper  and in October 1984 trained as a HCA  worked in critical care HCA / Technician CQ hospital until August 2020 and is now retired
  • Beverley Chui – Ophthalmic Nurse.