Health and social care professionals recognised in New Year honours

  • Peter Russell,

  • UK Professional News
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The work of more than a hundred health and social care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic has been recognised in this year's New Year Honours.

They include a British Empire Medal (BEM) for Cath Fitzsimmons from Greater Manchester, a former palliative care nurse who came out of retirement for COVID-19.

Also awarded a BEM was Dr Azeem Alam, a junior doctor at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, who founded BiteMedicine, providing free medical education for medical students during the pandemic.

An MBE went to Jacky Coping from Suffolk, a deputy director of nursing, who initiated Face Fit Testing at the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to help ensure that frontline workers were properly protected against COVID-19.

'Outstanding Efforts'

Public sector workers, including medical professionals, make up 14.8% of the list – mainly for the way they responded to the pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "In a year when so many have made sacrifices to protect our NHS and save people's lives, the outstanding efforts of those receiving honours today are a welcome reminder of the strength of human spirit, and of what can be achieved through courage and compassion."

Prof Paul Cosford was knighted for services to public health. Prof Cosford was lately emeritus medical director for Public Health England (PHE).

He joined PHE in 2012 after leading the national and local delivery of health protection services within the Health Protection Agency.

Among others to be honoured were Captain Emma Henderson, from Moray in Scotland, who received an MBE for founding Project Wingman, creating a 'first class' lounge experience in hospitals in the UK for NHS workers.

Other health and social care professionals have been honoured with OBEs.

'Humbled and Grateful'

Prof Partha Kar, a consultant and endocrinologist at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, was honoured with an OBE for services to people with diabetes, and told Medscape News UK he was "humbled and grateful for all the love and support I have received from those living with diabetes".

Prof Kar, a national specialist adviser on diabetes care for NHS England, pioneered the use of continuous glucose monitoring devices in the NHS.

He added that it had been "a long way from growing up in Kolkata, India, to having one of the highest honours in the UK".

Among other OBE recipients were:

  • Prof Wendy Bickmore, director of the Medical Research Council's Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh

  • Prof Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

  • Prof Ian Finlay, consultant surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary

  • Usha Goswami, professor of cognitive developmental neuroscience at the University of Cambridge

  • Anthony Campbell, honorary research professor at Cardiff University

  • Robert Champion, founder of the prostate cancer charity, Bob Champion Cancer Trust

  • Dr Shikandhini Kanagasundrem, director, infection prevention and control and consultant microbiologist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust

  • Harjinder Kaur Kandola, chief executive, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust, for services to mental health, particularly during the COVID-19 response

  • Francesca Gabrielle Happe, professor of cognitive neuroscience at King's College London, for services to the study of autism

  • Dr Timothy Ho, medical director at Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, for services to the NHS during COVID-19

  • Stephen Holmes, service director for adult social care at Northumberland County Council for services during the pandemic

  • Dr Gareth Hynes, specialty registrar at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for services to medical education during COVID-19

  • Dr Michael Paul Weekes, infectious diseases clinician at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Michelle Johnson, chief nurse at the Whittington Health NHS Trust, for services to nursing, particularly during the pandemic

  • Sara Jane Robertson, matron at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for services to nursing during COVID-19

  • Ramani Moonesinghe, professor of perioperative medicine and consultant anaesthetist, University College London for services to anaesthesia, perioperative, and critical care

  • Paul Charles Tunstell, associate chief pharmacist at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust for services during the COVID-19 pandemic

"As we begin a new year and continue to come together to fight this virus, may their service and stories be an inspiration to us all," Mr Johnson commented.

Adapted from Medscape UK.