The National Health Service is preparing to mark the anniversary of its foundation after the most challenging time in its 72-year history.
Coronavirus has been a global health emergency on a scale not seen for a century. The NHS, which first opened its doors at Trafford Park Hospital on 5 July 1948, responded swiftly and flexibly to deal with the pandemic but staff – present, past and future – have had to come together as never before, supported by volunteers and the public.
The nation owes a debt of gratitude to the 1.3 million-strong army of nurses, midwives, doctors, physios, pharmacists, healthcare and maternity care assistants porters, cleaners, and countless other staff who ensured no patient who could benefit from NHS care was unable to receive it. Along, of course, with the other key workers such as care staff, teachers, transport workers, delivery drivers and shop assistants who kept the country running.
Singling out those who have made the greatest contribution will be hard, but that is exactly what we are asking you to do for the 2020 NHS Parliamentary Awards. We know how much the awards have meant to all those who have been nominated in previous years. To have the skill, professionalism and compassion of the NHS recognised and celebrated is a huge boost, not just to those selected but to their colleagues and their organisations.
The Awards are not just for clinical roles or individuals and are not confined to NHS staff either. You can nominate charities who provide essential services to patients, those who have fought to change the way care is delivered and volunteers new or old.
Since we started the awards in 2018, over 450 Members of Parliament have nominated an individual or organisation for an award. Last year, we received over 500 nominations from MPs.The national judging panel was blown away by the talent, creativity and brilliance in the NHS and health community identified by England’s MPs.This year their task in picking a winner will be even harder.
Nominations open on 2 July 2020 and close on the 1 September 2020. The National Awards Ceremony announcing which nominees have won in each category - and the MP that supported them - will take place on 7 July 2021.