Luton and Bedfordshire's NHS staff honoured at awards ceremony

Moving night remembered NHS colleagues who died from coronavirus during the pandemic

Health staff at Thursday's awards ceremony
Health staff at Thursday's awards ceremony

The resilience and dedication of Bedfordshire and Luton NHS Staff has been recognised at an awards ceremony.

East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) hosted a very special Staff Awards ceremony at the Troxy entertainment venue in London on October 21.

The annual event brings together staff, service users, MPs and health care leaders from across the region. This year it also provided an opportunity to remember and pay respect to trust colleagues who died from coronavirus during the pandemic.

Proceedings opened with a rendition of the song ‘We Didn’t Know’ by #ELFTin1Voice, a choir made up of ELFT staff and service users, created and recorded at the height of lockdown. The song describes how friendship and togetherness could overcome the loneliness and anxiety felt by so many during the pandemic.

Master of ceremonies for the evening was the trust’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Paul Gilluley and Chief People Officer Tanya Carter.

Luton MP Rachel Hopkins presented the Improving Staff Experience award to Bedfordshire & Mid Bedfordshire Mental Health Crisis Team manager Andy Rajkumar, stating that his “resilience in ensuring that his workforce were safe, cared for and respected during the pandemic was second to none.”

Other Bedfordshire and Luton winners on the night included:

>Bedfordshire based social worker Maria Tzamtzi won the Improving Service User Experience Award for “advocating service user’s voices to be heard, and commitment in providing patients with the opportunity to engage in meaningful recovery.”

>The Commissioners Award was given to Bedfordshire & Luton’s Community Health Psychology Services for their work to “support acute hospital colleagues, and to respond to the challenges of a significant surge in referrals in recent months.”

>A Service User Award for a Special Person was presented to Carlene Bantick, part of the Luton Older People’s Mental Health Care team. Judges cited a service user’s praise for Carlene, who said “they would not be alive if it wasn’t for her support.”

Summing up the evening’s event, ELFT Chief Executive Paul Calaminus said: ‘We look back on what was a truly horrible year of suffering, but out of that, the level of care, dedication and resilience shown by our staff was incredible. I’m so proud of you.”

ELFT is the provider for primary, community and mental health care across east London, Luton and Bedfordshire.