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We can be Hospital Heroes

04 October 2018

With nearly 120 nominees and guests attending – and applauding – the sixth annual Hospital Heroes was an event to remember. There were 22 nominees in total, made up of dedicated staff from both the front line and behind the scenes of the Trust, across eight categories were celebrated for their achievements in helping to improve the patient experience.

The awards took place at Saxon Hall, Southend, and the great and the good of the hospital who had been shortlisted for this year's eight categories were celebrated and collected their deserving awards in front of Sir David Amess MP, Mark Francois MP, James Duddridge MP, The Worshipful Deputy Mayor of Southend Cllr Ann Holland, The Worshipful The Mayor of Castle Point Cllr Clive Walter, Chairman of Rayleigh Town Council, Cllr Jack Lawmon and Chairman of Rochford District Council Cllr David Merrick.

Award categories included Innovation, Care With Compassion, Unsung Hero, Managing Director's Professional & Accountable, Working Together, Employee of the Year, Chairman's Outstanding Achievement and Patients' Choice.

Yvonne Blücher, Managing Director of Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said:

"We received over 100 nominations this year demonstrating our values in action - care with compassion, working together, professional and accountable. As ever, we found it incredibly tough to decide on the shortlists for each category as there were so many high quality entries."


One award, the Patients' Choice award was nominated by and voted for by members of the public and Echo readers and this year saw people once again voting in their thousands. The award was presented by Echo Content Editor, Gary Pearson.

That winner was Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Thomas Keeble. He collected his award to thunderous applause, but like all the winners on the evening was humble about the accolade.

On winning the award, he said: "I am absolutely delighted and ecstatic for the support I've had from my colleagues and my patients across Southend and beyond. Thank you, it's a real honour and I'm really, really pleased."

Michelle Palmer, Deputy Ward Manager, Respiratory Unit was winner of the Care with Compassion award. She has worked on Westcliff Ward for over 20 years and was unable to attend the awards as she was on holiday in Cyprus, returning the day of the ceremony. In fact she'd only discovered she'd won when she touched down back in the UK.

She said: "I was amazed to find out I'd won, I got off the plane and my phone was just going mad with messages, so everyone else knew before I did because I was travelling back from Cyprus. It was quite emotional as I really didn't expect to win, but I am absolutely thrilled that I did."

Tony Haggar, Trust Gardener was winner of the Unsung Hero award. Upon winning the award he said: "I was so surprised. I feel so proud and it put a big smile on my face. Thank you to those who nominated me."

Kerri Legg, Head Nurse, Quality and Mortality was winner of the Innovation award. She said: "I am absolutely honoured to have won this award. For me, it is recognition of the collaboration, commitment and hard work from many teams and individuals across the hospital who have joined me on this journey. I am so grateful to everyone."

The Bridge the Gap Team (pictured below) were the winners  of the Working Together award. Charmaine Duce, Deputy Discharge Manager of the Team, said: "We are delighted as a team to be recognised by the Trust, for the valuable contribution BTG make to our patients experience. I am extremely proud of the staff who daily go above and beyond to improve patient flow throughout the hospital, and ensure our patient's smooth transition from the hospital to their home environment, supporting their on-going needs."



And the winners are…

Winners are in bold:




Unsung Hero

  • Tony Haggar, Trust Gardener
  • Craig Browne, Radiotherapy Porter 
  • Elizabeth Smith, X-Ray Clerical Support

Working Together

  • Donna Gaba and the Theatres Urology Team
  • Pharmacy Technical Services & Quality Assurance team
  • Bridge the gap team
  • Urology department


  • Kerri Legg, Head Nurse, quality and mortality
  • Hannah Lawrence Smith, Midwife 
  • Renal Unit

Care with Compassion

  • Dr Syed Shah, ED Consultant
  • Holly Christie, Deputy Ward Manager 
  • Michelle Palmer, Deputy Ward Manager

Managing Director's Professional and Accountable Award

  • Richard Skidmore, QA Lab manager, Pharmacy QA
  • Dr Paul Guyler, Stroke Consultant 
  • Ruth Gale, Medical Matron

 Employee of the Year

  • IT Department
  • The Goods Inwards team
  • Kim Paskins, Neuro-Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist

Patient's Choice

  • Dr Thomas Keeble, Consultant Cardiologist
  • Christina Kinsella, Physiotherapist  
  • Southbourne Ward

Chairman's Outstanding Achievement Award

  • Donna Gaba and the Theatres Urology Team
  • Urology department

Hospital Heroes winners videos