People's Choice Award
Voting for the People's Choice 75th Anniversary Award is now CLOSED.
Read about our 6 incredible award finalists below and vote for who you want to win using the 'VOTE NOW' button.
The 5 July 2023 marks the 75th Anniversary of the NHS. In this special year, we want to take the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those who have contributed to our NHS in Scotland over its 75 years.
The People’s Choice Award, sponsored by Alpha Solway, is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate truly incredible people whose contribution and dedication deserves recognition. The award this year will recognise those amazing people who work in our NHS Scotland who have made – and/or continue to make – a special contribution.
This can be: someone who has spent much of their working life providing care in the NHS; someone who has made a significant contribution to improving care or the wellbeing of others including staff; or someone who has contributed to innovations in the way treatment and care is delivered.
Voting is NOW CLOSED
The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 2 November.
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Annette Heary, NHS Lothian
WARD CLERK, EAST LOTHIAN COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
Annette Heary was born in the same year as the NHS and is still working for them at the age of 75.
She always dreamt of being a nurse but there wasn’t an opening when she left school at 16, even though she passed the entrance exam. She became a clerk at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh and after having her son, worked as an auxiliary in the Simpson Maternity Hospital’s labour ward. The charge nurse saw her potential and encouraged Annette to apply for nursing – and this time she was successful.
“I absolutely loved it and nursed for six years, but I had two ectopic pregnancies that meant I couldn’t lift patients and had to give it up,” said Annette, from Rosslyn, Mid-Lothian.
She continued her career with the NHS as a receptionist in the outpatients at the Royal and then spent 30 years at the emergency bed bureau. Annette retired at 63 but was asked to go back a year later and is now a ward clerk with East Lothian Community Hospital.
“People come in for procedures and are shaky. I reassure them and the nurses do the same, so they walk out smiling. It’s the best part of my job. I don’t know when I’ll retire.”
Janice McClymont, NHS Lanarkshire
HEAD OF PROFESSION, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY SERVICES
Countless people have had their lives changed for the better thanks to the hard work and skill of occupational therapists led by Janice McClymont. “It’s all about helping people to live their best life,” said Janice, who has nearly 40 years experience.
She is responsible for the development of the children and adults service in Lanarkshire, managing a 260-strong team of allied health providers, including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, nurses and psychology staff.
“I work with an amazing team. We treat the whole person as we know that illness and disability affect everyone in a different way,” added Janice, 59. She oversees a wide range of occupational therapy care groups: acute care; community rehabilitation; mental Health and addictions; children and young People; and specialist rehabilitation services for neurology, brain Injury, rheumatology and hand injury.
Janice introduced early occupational therapy intervention in primary care which helps hospital patients be discharged as soon as possible.
She also led the development of NHS Lanarkshire’s Long Covid Rehabilitation Pathway, the first in Scotland, and is in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellent clinical guidelines group for the management of long Covid.
“I’m delighted and overwhelmed to be one of the finalists,” she said.
Jackie McKechnie, NHS Lanakrshire
NURSE, UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL HAIRMYRES
Warm-hearted Jackie McKechnie has gone above and beyond her nursing role during a 40-year career.
She has carried out countless acts of kindness for patients, such as knitting teddy bears with NHS badges in exchange for donations.
Despite having two heart attacks, she completed a charity walk, and raised money for patients’ needs such as toiletries, sanitary ware, and tights.
“These are things that mothers will go without to feed their children,” said Jackie, 64, who retired this year after heart surgery.
Every year, she worked an extra shift to pay for toys in the January sales to donate to children. She worked throughout Covid, collecting donations from supermarkets.
“It was a shock of my life to be nominated for this award. I appreciate it, but I wasn’t looking for any recognition.”
Alan McMillan, Scottish Ambulance Service
He is one of Scotland’s first paramedics who has helped thousands of patients for the past 40 years.
Alan McMillan became a paramedic when the Scottish Ambulance Service was set up in 1992.
“Alan is one in a million – an exceptional paramedic and a phenomenal mentor,” said Alan Martin, Patient Experience Manager, Scottish Ambulance Service, who nominated him.
“He is a mentor, a role model, and father figure to many, but he is a hero to far more. Not just the patients who were brought back from death’s door, but all those who required little more than a holding of the hand or a smile and a few kind words.''
Alan, who works in the Perth Station, joined the ambulance service as an ambulance care assistant in 1985 and was promoted to lead ambulance man in 1990 before becoming a paramedic when the profession began in Scotland two years later.
Alongside frontline work, he was an instructor and an Advanced Life Support Instructor as well as Paramedic Team Leader.
Alan, 62, said: “I’m surprised to be nominated for an award as there are thousands of us going about doing this job every day. It’s always nice when people say thank you.”
When he retires later this year, he plans to carry on working part-time as a paramedic.
Christine Thompson, NHS Lothian
COMMUNITY CHILDREN’S NURSE TEAM MANAGER (CCNS)
The care of vulnerable children with complex needs at home and in school was always at the heart of Christine Thompson’s work.
The community children’s nurse, who joined the service in 1998, fought to extend the service to include children from 0-16 years with nursing needs.
She also helped set up the Care24 service in Lothian, which supports children and their families with end-of-life care at home.
For 12 years until her retirement, Christine managed CCNS, leading a team of 23, but she still carried out home visits, clinical procedures and teaching duties.
“The team nurse children who have had traumatic surgery and who have unusual conditions. The children are supported in their home, at nursery and school, and parents, teachers and carers are taught how to help them with their complex needs,” said Christine, 55.
“Siblings are also supported to make sure they are not taking on too many responsibilities. “I was blown away that someone on my team took the time to nominate me. It’s very touching but I was just doing my job.”
Julie Walker, NHS Highland
PHARMACIST, TOBERMORY PHARMACY, VICTORIA INTEGRATED CARE CENTRE, NHS HIGHLAND
When Julie Walker moved to the Isle of Mull seven years ago to take over its only pharmacy, she was attracted to the idyllic setting overlooking Tobermory bay.
But she soon became an essential part of the close-knit island community of 3,600 residents.
“I’ve got to know my patients and their families. When I meet someone and they don’t look well, I pass it on to the GP. We try hard to look after everyone in this wonderful community,” said Julie, 65, originally from South Shields.
During the pandemic, Julie co-ordinated medicine deliveries, and she set up the first dosette box delivery scheme.
She has also overseen training of her staff in vaccinations, dispensary and smoking cessation.
A colleague who nominated Julie said: “She has been an exceptional pharmacist who goes above and beyond every day. Her knowledge, her compassion for others and her care for the community has been beyond measure.”