Local health and social care heroes chosen to represent Midlands and East in NHS birthday awards - Butterfly volunteers

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust's Butterfly volunteers team

The Trust’s Butterfly volunteers team has been chosen from hundreds of applicants to represent the Midlands and East region in a prestigious competition to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday.

As regional champion in the Care and Compassion category, they will now vie with other regional winners from across England for a national award to be presented at a special ceremony in the Palace of Westminster in July.

The NHS70 Parliamentary Awards, sponsored by IBM and Teva, recognise the massive contribution made by the individuals who work in and alongside the NHS.

Launched in February, it asked the region’s MPs to find and nominate those individuals or teams they thought have made the biggest improvements to health services in their constituencies across ten categories. The Trust’s Butterfly volunteers team was nominated by the Rt Hon Sir Oliver Heald MP.

From over 750 entries, senior experts have chosen four outstanding nominations in each category, which exemplify the best of what the NHS and its partners do day in, day out.

Butterfly team co-ordinator, Angela Fenn led the nomination process. She said:

“Our Butterfly volunteers service means that no-one has to die alone by making sure volunteers are available to hold hands, talk to or just sit with patients in the last stages of their lives. As a patient reaches the end of their life, not everyone has relatives living nearby, nor are their family always able to be with them 24 hours a day. To help address this, the Trust’s palliative care and voluntary services teams worked with the hospital charity to create The Butterfly Project.

“Above all, the Butterfly volunteers can ensure the patient knows they are cared for, valued and are not having to face the prospect of dying alone.”

Nominating MP, The Rt Hon Sir Oliver Heald said:

“To have company and support as a patient approaches the end of life is very important. The Butterfly volunteers provide this comfort of having someone to talk to and be with as the end nears. I nominated the volunteers as I consider this to be compassionate support of the highest order.”

All of the champions will now be invited to the national awards ceremony, which will be held on 4th July 2018, the day before the NHS’s 70th birthday.

The ceremony will be hosted by Dr Sara Kayat, NHS GP and TV Doctor best known for This Morning, Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls and GPs: Behind Closed Doors.

The regional champions will now go forward to a final stage of judging by a panel including the leaders of Royal Colleges, the Unison trade union, and the Patients Association – collectively representing millions of health and care workers and patients.

About the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards

The NHS marks its 70th birthday on July 5th 2018, and the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards is part of a range of activities being organised by NHS England and NHS Improvement to mark this milestone, and the achievements of the NHS and those who work for and with it.

These range from ceremonies for NHS staff in Westminster Abbey and York Minster, the special 10p NHS coin released by The Royal Mint and new resources for schools to engage children and young people to think about a career in the NHS, to local open days, exhibitions and other events being staged by hospitals and other health organisations.

People and organisations are also encouraged to take part in the NHS Big 7Tea, with tea parties happening across the country to mark the birthday, sharing their NHS stories and raising money for one of over 250 dedicated NHS charities.

Find out more about NHS70 celebrations and how to get involved at www.nhs70.nhs.uk.

Further information on the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards is available at www.nhs70awards.co.uk.