UHA Origin Story
WHY DOES THE UHA CELEBRATE NON-MEDICAL STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS OF THE NHS?
Whilst we fully acknowledge all the life-saving and life-changing work carried out by frontline medical staff, where would we be without the support (often unseen and unheard) of ancillary staff, admin & clerical, IT, corporate, volunteers, apprentices – these people make up nearly 50% of all staff employed by the NHS.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
Hi, I’m Don Tomlinson and I am the founder of the Unsung Hero Awards. My background is in recruitment and I run a company called max20, a specialist supplier of non-medical staff exclusively to the NHS and the wider healthcare market.
WHERE DID THE IDEA OF THE UHA COME FROM?
About five years ago I recognised that whilst all NHS Trusts have their own awards ceremonies they tended to focus mainly on the work of the clinicians and nurses and their awards were local, covering only their Trust.
WHAT WERE THE EARLY DAYS OF THE UHA LIKE?
I felt there should be something for all the people working behind the scenes and also try to give them national recognition. So the idea of the Unsung Hero Awards was born. As with all new ideas it has taken a few years to gain momentum. For the first two years, our team went out on the road to visit NHS Trusts around the country.
Then in 2017, we held our very first in-house event in Manchester (coincidentally the birthplace of the NHS in 1948) and over 100 people attended. 2018 marked the pivotal point for the UHA with an event, again in Manchester, attended by over 350 people.
HOW DO THE NHS PROMOTE THE UHA?
I want to personally thank all the supporters of this award including the NHS Comms teams around the country who have worked so hard to promote the event. We have also seen a growing number of NHS Chief Executives becoming more involved and attending the awards along with their non-medical staff.
WHY ARE THESE AWARDS SO IMPORTANT?
These awards are becoming a great way to build positive staff engagement nationally by recognising all the work done behind the scenes by non-medical staff.
IS THE UHA A COMMERCIAL COMPANY?
This year I have made the decision to separate the UHA from my other businesses and the awards are now a not for profit Community Interest Company, guaranteeing that all revenues received will be reinvested in the company helping it to grow for the benefit of all Unsung Heroes of the NHS!
WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR?
The 2019 awards are already in preparation and I invite all NHS Trusts to get involved by sending in nominations. We would also like to visit more NHS Trusts this year to spread the word.
Suppliers to the NHS can also get involved - we are currently producing media packs which we will send out to all interested suppliers over the coming months.
WHEN AND WHERE ARE THE AWARDS NEXT YEAR?
Our target for next year’s event is to bring 500 people together in the Hilton, Deansgate, on Friday 1st March to once again celebrate our non-medical Unsung Heroes of the NHS.
HOW CAN PEOPLE GET INVOLVED?
If you would like to get involved, please contact the UHA Team on:
0161 509 1255 / firstname.lastname@example.org