So many of those within our union, whether members, activists or staff supporting our public services, do so without the recognition they deserve. Lifetimes are spent providing and supporting our vital public services, which build and sustain the communities we’re all part of.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, as general secretary to a union with our 1.3 million members in public services, I’ve always believed that serving the country is one of the greatest things anyone can do with their life, talents and passion.
So it was great to see UNISON’s own Gail Adams honoured with an OBE in the New Year’s Honours for services to nursing and public healthcare. This is a richly deserved award for Gail, who has been a constant champion of nurses and healthcare assistants, and a passionate and outspoken defender of our National Health Service.
Gail is always willing to speak out on behalf of those who care for us, and is never afraid to voice her unhappiness with those in positions of power either. Whenever there are attacks on the nursing profession or the NHS, you can be sure Gail will be speaking out against it.
During her 14 been years as UNISON’s head of nursing she’s been a leading advocate for nurses, and fought against blatant injustices like the axing of the student nursing bursary.
Recently Gail has started a new role, leading UNISON’s professional services unit. I know that she’ll bring the same passion and dedication to that role that she has brought to her work with nurses throughout her time at UNISON.
I’m proud that Gail has been honoured with an OBE, and not just because I know how hard she works for UNISON members. I’m proud too because at time when our health service is under so much pressure, those who work behind the scenes to help our health service function deserve all the praise they can get.
Here’s to more awards, more recognition and – most importantly – more government support for those who make our NHS tick in the year ahead.