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Southend Hospital Heroes celebrated

25 September 2017

Health Care

Glitz and glamour aren’t normally words you associate with a hospital, but there was plenty of the former for the fifth annual Southend Hospital Heroes awards. The thing that shone the most though was talent.

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, The Worshipful Deputy Mayor of Southend Cllr Mr Derek Jarvis and Chairman of Rayleigh Town Council Cllr Mrs Carol Pavelin

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.

Addressing the audience prior to the awards was Clare Panniker, attending her first Hospital Heroes since becoming Chief Executive earlier this year. She said: "With increasing demand for our services, the provision of compassionate, high quality patient care has never been more important than it is now and, thanks to all ofyou, we are making great strides towards building a strong foundation for the future."

Yvonne Blücher, Managing Director of Southend Hospital, said: "Personally it fills me with pride to see this room full of people who dedicate so much care and attention to their work and to the smooth working of the hospital as a whole.

"I know from the number of entries the judging panel read during the shortlisting process, that the finalists we have here tonight are the cream of an amazing crop of nominees.  Every single staff member here really has made a significant difference to their working environment and the care that our patients receive."

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 voting in their thousands creating a new record for the sheer number of votes.

The award was presented by Echo Editor in Chief, Chris Hatton, who said: "We received more than 16,000 votes this year and our winner took almost 60% of those votes."

That winner was Consultant Urological Surgeon, Panagiotis Dimopoulos. 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: "It was a surprise, I feel really honoured. The true heroes are those struggling in their everyday lives for their health, I'm just one of the many people at Southend Hospital who helps improve their lives. It was quite unexpected to hear that I got over 8,000 votes, so I just want to thank everyone who voted for me."

On hearing of his win two relatives of his patients were quick to add further praise on the hospital's Facebook page.

Emma Bartlett, from Canvey Island, said: "He is the reason my dad is here. My dad is cancer free and living his life with his wife, daughters and grandsons. No matter how many time we thanks him (Panos) it will never seem enough for what he has done for my family."

Whilst Fran Hayward, from Shoburyness, added: "This amazing man definitely saved my son's life and without him I truly believe my son would not be here now with his wife, children and family. Thank you (is) just not enough."

Another winner who got huge applause, and arguably the biggest cheer of the night, was Facilities Contract manager, Nicky Kitchener, who took home the Chairman's Outstanding Achievement award.

Having already been nominated in the category for Unsung Hero, an award she didn't win, Nicky was just really pleased to have been nominated. So, imagine her surprise then when she discovered she had won the Chairman's award out of all of those nominated on the evening.

Not a surprise when you discover that Nicky, who has worked at the Trust for over 20 years, had been nominated by 12 individuals.

Hospital Chairman, Alan Tobias OBE, said: "This year I didn't shortlist three nominees because my choice of winner was apparent as soon as I started reading through all the nominations we received for this individual.  Her dedication to the Trust and commitment to continually improving our services for both patients and staff is phenomenal."

After receiving her award Nicky said: "I'm absolutely flabbergasted, I never ever thought that I would be considered for an award from the chairman. It was such a memorable evening and I shall never forget it as long as I live."

And Nicky has nominated many people in the past for the awards but this was the first time she had been in the running for the awards herself. She explained the importance of making nominations for people you work with that make an outstanding contribution to not just their job, but to patients and the Trust.

"I feel like I'm just doing my job but it is really nice to know that somewhere all of us winners have made a real difference. I don't just see this award as just for me though it is also for the teams I work with.

Alan Tobias OBE rounded off the evening's proceedings by saying: "Each person at Southend Hospital plays a vital part in the patient journey regardless of where they work, and they should feel proud that they are making a difference every day.  Thank you for your passion, commitment, dedication and innovation."


Visit our Facebook page to see more images from the evening.


Hospital Heroes 2017


Innovation award

Emergency Department ENP team

Ambulatory Emergency CareClinical Decisions Unit (CDU) & H2H   WINNER

Narelle Jacobs -Occupational Therapist, Paediatrics


Care With Compassion award

Cardiology CNS Team                  WINNER

Tracy Davies Lee, Junior Occupational Therapist

Ana Crespo Barcina, Staff Nurse


Unsung Hero award


Nicky Kitchener, Facilities Contract Manager

Andy Hatton, Emergency Department Porter

Nic Girvan, Learning & Organisational Development Consultant            WINNER


Managing Director's Professional & Accountable award

Amanda Burton, Interim Head of Communications              WINNER

Hayley Cross, Manager, Balmoral Ward


Working Together award

The Estuary Short Stay Medical Ward including H2H Rehab & Discharge Team

Breast Screening Admin Team

Day Assessment Unit       WINNER


Employee of the Year award

Fiona Sommerville, Education & Simulation Lead TCCA

Sita Lumsden & Gordon Hopkins Wards        WINNER

Teresa Samson & Pauline Pedder, Accommodation Office



Chairman's Outstanding Achievement award


Nicky Kitchener, Facilities Contract Manager            WINNER



Patients' Choice award

Lesley Eldridge, Louise Leech & Early Pregnancy Unit (EPU)

Mr Panagiotis Dimopoulos, Consultant Urological Surgeon         WINNER

Emma Matthews, Dr Dora Amran & Cardiac and Medical Day Stay (CMDS)