The 2019 Apprentice of the Year winner was UNISON member Patrick Onyema
Voting opened today for this year’s Our Health Heroes, the national awards that celebrate the extraordinary people at the heart of the country’s NHS and social care workforces.
After a year in which healthcare workers have been at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19, the public vote is expected to be greater than ever.
Alongside the public, health and social care workers are being encouraged to vote for colleagues among the 15 finalists – chosen by an expert panel from 600 nominations – with the winner announced in March.
UNISON is sponsoring two of the awards – operational services support worker of the year and apprentice of the year.
And the union’s head of health Sara Gorton commented: “Now, more than ever, it’s vitally important that the work of the entire NHS family is recognised and celebrated.
“The past 10 months have been extremely challenging. Staff have been placed under extreme and unprecedented stress and, in many cases, pushed to the limit. And the pandemic has reminded us that the NHS cannot function without the entire team.
“When the stakes have never been higher, the porters, cleaners, administrative staff, IT technicians, reception, and security staff – and the many other roles often overlooked for praise or awards – have risen to the challenge.”
John Rogers, chief executive of awards organiser Skills for Health, said: “In any given year, trying to identify a ‘winner’ of Our Health Heroes is, of course, near impossible. But after 2020, our NHS, health and social care staff in their entirety are truly deserving of an award.
“Reading through the submissions is humbling and emotional, in recognising the outstanding contribution by so many across the sector, over the last twelve months, and as we speak.”
Voting opens today, 18 January, and closes on Monday 8 February. Finalists and nominees will be celebrated at a virtual ceremony on 23 March.