Hackney NHS staff celebrated for 'work beyond the call of duty'

Dr Paul Gilluley and Chief People Officer Tanya Carter.

Master of ceremonies for the evening was the trust’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Paul Gilluley and Chief People Officer Tanya Carter. - Credit: ELFT/Mark Sepple

Hackney NHS staff were recognised and celebrated in a special regional awards ceremony for healthcare workers last week in honour of their "dedication and resilience" during the pandemic. 

East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) hosted the ceremony at Whitechapel's Troxy entertainment venue on October 21. 

Staff, service users, MPs and health care leaders from across a region spanning east London, Luton and Bedfordshire came together to thank and applaud ELFT staff, as well as to remember 19 colleagues who lost their lives since the start of the Covid pandemic. 

Chief executive Paul Calaminus of ELFT, which provides primary, community and mental health care said: "We look back on what was a truly horrible year of suffering, but out of that, the level of care, dedication and resilience shown by our staff was incredible.

"I’m so proud of you.” 

East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) hosted the ceremony at Whitechapel's Troxy entertainment venue.

East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) hosted the ceremony at Whitechapel's Troxy entertainment venue for staff from across east London, Luton and Bedfordshire. - Credit: ELFT/Mark Sepple

The proceedings opened with a rendition of the song We Didn’t Know by #ELFTin1Voice, a choir made up of ELFT staff and service users.

The song was created and recorded at the height of lockdown and describes how friendship and togetherness could overcome the loneliness and anxiety felt by so many during the pandemic.

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City & Hackney winners on the night included Forensic Service’s Sexual Violence advisor Emma Furlong, who pioneered a groundbreaking approach to sexual safety based at the John Howard Centre in Homerton.

Highly specialist community nurse for the borough’s Learning Disability Service, Brenda Smart, was recognised for working "beyond the call of duty" during the pandemic.

The Star of the Future award went to City & Hackney’s Centre for Mental Health apprentice Saima Fiaz who was applauded for being ‘a dependable hard worker who can never turn down a challenge.’

ELFT non-executive director Aamir Ahmed, Saima Faiz and the Trust's chief operating officer Edwin Ndlovu

ELFT non-executive director Aamir Ahmed, Saima Faiz, who won the NHS staff award for Star of the Future, and the Trust's chief operating officer Edwin Ndlovu. Saima is an apprentice at the City and Hackney Centre for Mental Health. - Credit: ELFT/Mark Sepple

Staff from across the borough were also part of the team that won a Special Commendation for their work to roll out the mass vaccination programme across the whole of north east London, including the planning and coordination of 7000 vaccinations in just one day in June at the Olympic Stadium.