Celebrating the hidden NHS heroes with UNISON Isle of Wight Health Branch

Billed as “only National Awards For Non-medical, Non clinical NHS Staff & Volunteers”, the Unsung Hero Awards pay tribute to the people who keep our health service moving – but don’t always get the attention they deserve.

On Friday 16 February 2024 during #HeartUnions week, our Isle of Wight Health Branch held a special Unsung Hero Awards celebration for members. Below, nurse and UNISON activist Anna New explains a little bit more about the importance of the event.

Hi Anna, can you explain what the NHS Unsung Hero Awards are about?

The NHS Unsung Hero Awards are an annual celebration of the essential but often unrecognized contributions of behind-the-scenes staff in our health service. These individuals play a crucial role in ensuring the provision of safe services for our communities.

The awards aim to show appreciation for staff who go above and beyond, embodying the care, compassion, and dedication required to provide the best possible services.

Why is UNISON Isle of Wight Health Branch sponsoring them?

We want to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of these members of staff, and believe that sponsoring events like this not only demonstrates our support for staff but also helps to create an awareness of the pressures they face.

Additionally, it contributes to their overall health and well-being, boosting morale. We take immense pride in supporting events that celebrate these members of staff who are integral members of our community.

Why should we celebrate staff for doing their jobs?

There are numerous essential services that often go unnoticed but are crucial for providing safe services. These ‘unknown’ services are the backbone of the NHS, and acknowledging their contributions is vital. The NHS faces constant pressure and change, and many people may not fully appreciate the impact of their work. Offering a small token of appreciation helps them understand that their efforts are valued, and helps other people see that these workers are essential to the functioning of the NHS.

What factors are impacting morale in the NHS?

Many factors are contributing to low morale in the NHS. Years of austerity, cutbacks, constant change, the impact of Covid, and the dissolution of trusts contribute to uncertainty regarding employment status. Economic challenges, the cost-of-living crisis, and the struggle to provide for families increase stress and anxiety among staff. The use of food banks and sacrifices to maintain a ‘full’ and ‘happy’ life add further distress. Unison aims to uplift morale through initiatives like the Unsung Hero Awards, recognizing their significance in supporting NHS staff during challenging times.