The Unsung Hero Awards road-show continues – latest stop – Blackpool!
Blackpool, a place of sun, sand and apparently also a location once favoured by Adolf Hitler if new documents are to be believed (but more on this later). Much more importantly than this, on Friday, 11th October it was the chosen location for the NHS Non-Medical Non-Clinical Unsung Hero Awards road show!
We arrived at Blackpool Victoria Hospital around 11:00 am on a very windy day (another thing Blackpool is famous for), but it was so easy to get in as the modern car park is joined to the main entrance by a short, covered walkway. Top marks to the designers. Talking about designers the first thing to catch our eyes (well you could hardly miss it could you) was a massive orange, plastic-covered structure in the reception area - whatever could this be?
On the left - Suzanne Johnstone of Mrs Johnstones & Tracy Scott of Unsung Hero Awards
But what is hidden behind the massive orange-coloured plastic screen? There is a clue in the following poster...
But much, much more on this later - our lips are sealed.
We had been asked to report to reception, and as we were expected our table was quickly produced by one of the receptionists (a non-medical NHS employee of course and therefore a potential Non-Medical Unsung Hero). Our base for the day was on the mezzanine floor, just above the reception area and right in the middle of all the comings and goings – perfect spot to promote the Awards.
We met representatives of Unison who were also putting on a display on an adjacent stand. This was a much posher affair than ours and featured an electronic 'reaction' tester that you were encouraged to bash as quickly as possible in the correct sequence shown by flashing lights! Never quite worked out the purpose of the machine but it did draw a large crowd – maybe that was the purpose.
The Unison stand helped us a lot too as we had hardly set up our banners when people were asking what it was all about. Unison they could understand but who were the 'Unsung Heroes of the NHS'?
What an opener! Everyone we met on the day were either a non-medical employee or volunteer, a medical staff member who depended upon many of their non-medical colleagues or even patients and their families who would be able to nominate for the Patient Award category.
We knew we would be busy, but neither Tracy Scott (our UHA Event manager) nor I could believe the welcome we got and the number of people who said, 'what a great idea' and 'about time too'.
As they say in estate agency – 'it's all about location' and as we were just at the bottom of the stairs leading to the restaurant, we were able to take advantage of the hundreds of people coming and going over the busy lunchtime period. I even met some of the restaurant staff who proudly told me that the hospital has recently celebrated winning a five-star food rating for the seventh successive year.
The award comes after an unannounced visit by Environmental Health inspectors from Blackpool Council to check the kitchens, food preparation and cooking, food hygiene systems and temperature records.
Kitchen manager, Darren Cadwell, said the news was a major boost for staff and patients.
This is exactly what we mean by the Unsung Heroes of the NHS – the non-medical staff who make such a huge difference 'behind the scenes'. We are not saying they are not valued – of course they are, but understandably having to treat more than 80,000 day-case and inpatients and more than 200,000 outpatients from across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre every single year, there is not a lot of time left to celebrate the amazing work done by the non-medical, non-clinical staff in the Trust; even though they make up nearly half of the overall staff employed.
Tracy and I were there on Friday to spread the word, fly the flag, give out leaflets and little torches courtesy of one of our category sponsors, Cerner.
We met scores of admin staff, plenty of portering staff, IT staff, a cohort of coders (they have already won a local award at the hospital and will definitely be putting in a team nomination)
We know that many NHS Trust Hospitals have their own awards ceremonies and these are tremendous at boosting morale locally, but what about a National Award ceremony exclusively for celebrating all the work done by the non-medical staff? That is exactly what makes the Unsung Hero Awards so special. It is the only national award for all non-medical, non-clinical staff. Nominations are open now until Friday, November 16 and it's such an easy process.
Simply click HERE
One person we also met on the day who is already up for an award this year was Philip Robinson. Philip is one of the many hard-working volunteers and has already been nominated for the Trust’s own “Celebrating Success Awards”.
Tracy Scott, Event Manager UHA and Philip Robinson, Volunteer at Blackpool Victoria Hospital
After a full on and very rewarding day, we met Nigel Fort from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and is also the artist behind the huge installation in the main reception of Blackpool Victoria Hospital. The clue to what is going to be revealed is contained in the Lord Kitchener poster shown above and behind us.
Don Tomlinson, Founder of the Unsung Hero Awards and Nigel Fort
You will have to come along on Thursday, 26th October to find out what exactly is hidden behind the orange wall!
And finally, if you would like to know just what Adolf Hitler thought of Blackpool there is a very interesting article here.
Written by Don Tomlinson, founder of max20 Project Solutions and the Unsung Hero Awards.