Dedicated NHS and healthcare teams named Who Cares Wins Awards finalists

On 5th August 2021
Categories: 2021

NHS Charities Together is proud to partner with The Sun and Channel 4 for this year’s Who Cares Wins Awards. Voting has now begun for the Best Team category which honours any NHS or healthcare team on the front line or behind the scenes. 

Read all about the three incredible finalists in the category below, as voted for by Sun readers, and cast your vote. The rest of the categories will be voted for by a panel of judges, including our very own Chief Executive Ellie Orton OBE.

The winners of the Who Cares Wins Awards 2021 will be revealed at a star-studded ceremony in London, hosted by Davina McCall on Channel 4 later this year. 

The awards were set up in 2017 as a way for readers to celebrate their NHS and healthcare heroes, and are now in their fourth year after being pioneered by The Sun’s late Health Editor Christina Newbury, who died suddenly, aged just 31.

Davina McCall said:

“It is a total privilege to be presenting The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards.

“We all owe so much to the incredible people who work tirelessly to care for us, it will be an honour to meet the winners and nominees and hear their amazing stories.”

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive of NHS Charities Together, said:

“Thank you to the Sun and Channel 4 for this chance to highlight the NHS staff, volunteers and charity workers who have been there for us throughout the Covid crisis, their commitment, the sacrifices they have made and the toll it has taken on them. There are so many powerful stories to tell, and this is an opportunity to tell them and show how much we appreciate what they have done and continue to do for all of us.”

Victoria Newton, Editor-in-Chief of The Sun, said:

“All of the nominated teams are worthy winners in the Best Team category. Reading their stories it’s impossible to ignore the impact COVID has had on the the teams and the families involved, but it is inspiring to see how each of the teams have gone beyond the call of duty to help their patients and loved ones. I wish them all the very best of luck!”

Ward 3B, Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children

Credit: The Sun

At just 18 months old, Aria ­Gowran has braved more surgery than most will face in a lifetime. Diagnosed with a rare liver condition soon after her birth, Aria has spent almost all her short life in hospital being cared for by the nurses on Ward 3B at the Glasgow Royal Hospital for Children. 

Now Aria’s family have paid tribute to the incredible team and nominated them for one of The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards. 

Her father, Ryan Gowran, 29, said:

“The team on 3B is unlike any other. They have become family and have given Aria an unforgettable first 18 months. The amount of care they do, not just for her but for myself, Autumn and Edan as a family unit. They don’t just worry about the patient, they worry about the family in the background. Along with the team in Leeds, they have saved our baby’s life on more than one occasion. We nominated Ward 3B because we feel the Who Cares Wins Awards would be the biggest way to show our thanks for all the help they have provided over the last year and a bit.” 

Acting senior charge nurse, Jennifer Woods, 29, said:

“Aria has become part of the Ward 3B family. For her short life, she’s actually spent very little of it at home. She has such a  bond with us — everybody loves Aria. It’s just nice to see we’ve actually got her to this place because there have been lots of times when we’ve thought she   wouldn’t have made it to this point. We care for Aria and love her to pieces, but we never really think about what we do, so it’s nice to be recognised for the care and it’s nice to know we’re appreciated by Ryan and Autumn.”

North Devon District Hospital ICU

Falling ill with Covid as the pandemic first began to grip in March 2020, Mandy Mitchell, the hospital’s first COVID patient, was put in an induced coma, given a tracheotomy and placed on a mechanical ventilator in North Devon Hospital’s ICU ward (pictured above, credit: Neil Hope / The Sun).

But thanks to the dedication of the intensive care team, Mandy, 60, pulled through. Kind staff had even compiled a diary for Mandy, filling in all the blanks of her 96 days in the Barnstaple hospital. While Mandy does not remember much of her journey, she won’t forget the team’s ­kindness. It’s why she nominated them for The Sun’s outstanding teamwork award.

Mandy, a former phlebotomist [an expert in taking blood], said:

“I have no recollection of any of the period in the coma, but every day doctors and nurses wrote me notes telling me I was doing great, that I was a fighter and could get better. It means the absolute world to me. I couldn’t have my family come and visit so the medical team all became like a family to me. I’ll never be able to repay what they did. They brought me back to my own family but in doing so, they have become family to me too.”

“When Mandy came in, her ­chances of survival were 50:50. The virus was so new, we weren’t even in lockdown yet.”

Dr Emma Fisher, the ICU doctor on duty

ICU staff nurse, Alison Smith, said:

“Mandy was so unwell — all we could do was take it hour by hour. Kevin couldn’t come to see her, and neither could her daughter Gemma or son Lee. We have patient diaries we fill in for long-term patients. We’d write all sorts in Mandy’s — how she was doing, what was going on in the news, who might look after her tomorrow.”

Court House Retirement Home in Cheddar, Somerset

Staff dropped everything to move into the Court House Retirement Home as Covid spread across the country. For 12 weeks they lived apart from their families and locked down to protect the elderly and vulnerable residents in their care. Not a single resident caught Covid during that lockdown and to this day, not a single resident has died from the virus.

Owner, Christopher Dando, 55, said:

“It was like a ticking time bomb. You knew if Covid got in, you could lose ten, 20, 40 residents in one go. They are all people’s ­mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers. We decided the best thing we could do was to create a bubble and lock ourselves in. Staff slept in empty rooms and management made up beds on the floor of a disused ­pharmacy which had been awaiting renovation.”

Local councillor Paul Fineran nominated Court House, praising its outstanding care of residents during the pandemic, including his 96-year-old mum Catherine Wortham. He said:

“Staff at Court House have been absolutely phenomenal. Many of them have been literally living and breathing the place 24 hours a day. All the usual activities came to a stop during lockdown but staff did all they could to keep them happy and entertained. No one was ever lonely. They have done everything they could to keep residents safe and as a result they haven’t lost anyone.”

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