Occupational therapist Sheelagh Baldry and her physiotherapist colleague Kay West were among the ten winners from across the UK of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) Healthcare Champions Awards.
The proud pair were honoured at a special reception held last night in the Macmillan room in the House of Commons, where the awards were presented by the Home Secretary and NRAS patron, The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.
The biennial Healthcare Champions Awards is an important occasion organised by NRAS to raise awareness of the chronic autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis and celebrate the dedication, professionalism and excellent care given by those healthcare professionals that go ‘the extra mile’ to provide the best possible outcomes for the many people coping with this disease, while also working in the challenging environment of the NHS reforms.
Sheelagh and Kay were honoured for their professionalism and excellence of care, described by the nominee as ‘above and beyond the call of duty.’
NRAS members across the UK were asked to nominate their choices of healthcare professionals for the awards and the response was phenomenal. A wide variety of nominations were received from whole rheumatology units, consultants, specialist nurses and GPs.
Delighted with their win Sheelagh said: “I am honoured to accept this award from the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society. Our team at South Tees is committed to delivering the best possible care for our patients living with rheumatoid arthritis.To be nominated for this award directly by the patients means a great deal and we are both very proud of this achievement.”
Kay added: “I was stunned when I heard that I had won the award and very excited to have been nominated by one of our patients. I was pleased that the therapy input had helped her so much.
“I have worked as part of the rheumatology team in Middlesbrough for 22 years now and we have a really enthusiastic team here and we always try to make people feel better despite their problems.
“I really enjoy my work. I find the workload interesting and very often challenging. Every patient is different with their needs and we aim to manage these with my colleagues as best as we can to try to improve the quality of their lives.”
Commenting on the awards Ailsa Bosworth, NRAS’ chief executive said: “Many congratulations to Sheelagh and Kay on winning this award through your passion and commitment to providing such excellent care in rheumatoid arthritis. Once again I am enormously impressed by the dedication of our health professionals in rheumatoid arthritis and would like to thank all those who wrote in with their nominations and applaud all our winners for their professionalism and excellence of care.”