Mark Hunter MP helps celebrate third Healthcare Champion Awards success

November 6, 2011 1:28 PM
Mark with NRAS Chief Executive, Ailsa Bosworth

Mark with NRAS Chief Executive, Ailsa Bosworth

Mark Hunter MP helped The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) to celebrate its third Healthcare Champions Awards ceremony yesterday at a special reception held at the State Rooms at the Speaker's House, House of Commons. The awards were presented by the Home Secretary and NRAS Patron, Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

Mr Hunter is a Parliamentary Friend of the charity and supports calls for further improvements to be made to the quality of care offered to people living with the autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). During the event, Mr Hunter spoke to NRAS Chief Executive, Ailsa Bosworth (pictured) about priorities for the sector, including Government proposals to create a Quality Standard for the disease and conduct a new clinical audit to assess how well medical professionals are adhering to best practice.

In spite of the variability in the quality of care identified in the King's Fund and National Audit Office Reports into RA services published in 2009, there are still many examples of excellent care and support being offered to people with RA. The biennial NRAS Healthcare Champion Awards provides the opportunity to celebrate the dedication and professionalism of those healthcare professionals that go 'the extra mile' to provide the best possible outcomes for the many people coping with the disease, while also working in a challenging environment of NHS reforms and austerity.

This year NRAS members across the UK were asked to nominate their choices of healthcare professionals for the awards and the response was phenomenal. A wide variety of nominations were received from whole rheumatology units, consultants, specialist nurses and GPs. A special panel of judges was then convened to choose the entries that best met the following criteria:

Many of the testaments told passionately of the care received, for example "The team provide a safe-harbour amid the stormy seas of pain and disability - I feel lucky beyond words to have their care".

Commenting on the nominations Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive, NRAS said:

"The current NHS reforms are understandably having a high profile in the national media and we share concerns about how these reforms will impact rheumatoid arthritis care and services going forwards. Having said this, once again I am enormously impressed by the dedication of our health professionals in RA and so proud that for the third year, and in such a special year, we are having the opportunity to celebrate the good work of our Healthcare Champions in RA. I would like to thank all those who wrote in with their nominations and applaud our winners for their professionalism and excellent care."

Mark Hunter MP also applauded the success of the Awards saying:

"The NRAS Healthcare Champions Awards are a terrific achievement for those working in the rheumatoid arthritis field. I was very pleased to be able to attend the awards ceremony to show my support and raise awareness for a serious autoimmune disease that is frequently misunderstood by the public. I look forward to working with NRAS to campaign for further, much needed, improvements to the quality of care offered to the 580,000 people in England living with rheumatoid arthritis."

In addition to the Healthcare Champion Awards NRAS has celebrated its very special 10th Anniversary with events running throughout the year including: 'Tea for 10' initiative; Sky Dive in May for members, staff and supporters; celebratory Birthday Lunch in June; The Great North Run in September, which saw CEO, Alisa Bosworth pushed 10km by medical advisers, members and supporters; 'Marathon in a Month' run; and to finish the year, a Christmas Concert.

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