Milton Keynes Hospital worker wins national award for 'extraordinary' work during the pandemic

This healthcare assistant was presented with her award virtually yesterday evening (March 23).

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 12:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 12:08 pm

Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH), Healthcare Assistant (HCA), Claire Norton, won a national award recognising her work with children during the pandemic.

Claire works in the Children’s Emergency Department and won the Clinical Support Worker of the Year prize.

The awards ceremony was organised by Skills For Health, a not-for-profit outfit, who support social care workers.

A Milton Keynes University care worker was nationally recognised for her care work during the pandemic

Claire took top prize beating out to other shortlisted candidates. Claire said in a statement on the MKUH website: “I think it is important to not only treat our patients but educate them on their health and wellbeing. This has led to me creating education boards throughout our paediatric area.

"Over my nine years of working in the department, I have always believed that every patient and parent should feel comfortable in the hospital environment. I cannot express how grateful I am for this reward. To even be considered is a great privilege.

"I would like to thank my wonderful team for all their support and hard work, especially when they involve my weird and wonderful ideas. I truly believe they have made me the HCA I am today.”

Specific aspects of Claire's work that have led to her being singled out for special recognition included: creating a large visual display in the waiting room that shows patients the faces behind her colleagues’ masks. Meaning children were more at ease in the strange world of compulsory masks, knowing who was underneath the covering.

Claire created the 'Snow White and the seven symptoms’, educational board. Which identified the signs of different childhood illnesses, in an easy to digest, fun way youngsters could understand.

She was also recognised for her help in facilitating the donations the hospital receives from charities who generously donate to the department, including teddy bears to give to distressed children whilst they receive treatment, and distraction boxes full of toys and activities.

Claire was presented with her award at a virtual ceremony on 23 March by Dr Navina Evans, chief executive at Health Education England, who said: “Extraordinary individuals like Claire do not just land into these jobs. They take years of training, experience and dedication to excel in their field, which is why it is so important we continually recognise the hard work of our incredible clinical support workforce.”

The annual Our Health Heroes campaign shines a light on the extraordinary efforts of thousands of healthcare support staff who work hard behind the scenes to keep the system running.

A spokesperson for the MKUH added: “We are delighted that Claire’s work as part of #TeamMKUH has been recognised by winning this award. It is incredibly important to recognise the efforts of all staff, especially in this difficult period.

"Claire fully deserves this national recognition for her tireless efforts to improve the service to patients and their parents in our Children’s Emergency Department. She always has a smile on her face and is always there for everyone else, putting others’ needs first. She truly deserves this recognition. She is an exceptional HCA, an amazing colleague, and a fantastic advocate for the children.”

Skills for Health, deliver the awards with the help of partners NHS Employers, UNISON, SFJ Awards and Bevan Brittan. John Rogers, chief executive at Skills for Health commented: “Clinical Support Workers like Claire play a crucial role in the delivery of exceptional care to patients and service users within the NHS every day. Without them, our health and social care sector simply could not exist.”