Health Professionals from across the UK, and even internationally, dressed in their finery, entered the bustling Ballroom with a glass of champagne in one hand and a chunky programme of events in the other. Colleagues joined together and merrily chatted amongst the chandeliers apprehensively and excitedly waiting for the night ahead.
As dinner was announced, the crowds descended upon The Great Room, and iPhones lit up the balconies as people looked down on the grand and striking set-up for the night. There was a buzz in the room, and everyone felt proud to be part of it.
The Welcome by Editor of the Health Service Journal, Alastair McLellan, was a genuine and rousing tribute to all of the nominees of the night, and to the NHS in general. He mentioned that despite austere times, the NHS should be celebrating its achievements, and that each of the people in the room should be proud to be there.
Following Alastair was Rt Hon Alistair Burt, who said that just as these awards are the biggest and best in the world, so is our health service. The emotive proceedings were concluded with a moving and deserved Recognition Award for James Titcombe and Julie Bailey for their courageous work in the Mid Staffs public inquiry.
After a beautiful dinner, the awards began. Each of the winners were welcomed to the stage with a acknowledgement of their work by one of the judging panel. Lively music blasted out as winners danced to the stage and the audience danced and sang at their table, the atmosphere was electric. Presenter for the evening, Clare Balding, delighted the audience with a parody of horse racing commentary as people made the long walk from their tables to the stage.
Then came our category… Improving Outcomes Through Learning & Development. Hearts were beating fast and fingers were crossed hopefully. Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance were announced as the winners, and we certainly felt proud to be Finalists in the same category as such an incredible team.
We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for being selected as Finalists for this astonishing accolade. The work we have done has taken a great deal of dedication by an altruistic group of clinical and legal professionals, who work tirelessly to improve standards of care for mothers and baby across the UK.
A huge thank you to them, and to all of our supporters; it truly is a collaborative initiative, and we could not do it without you. In addition, a big thank you to Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, who sponsored our table for the evening and made it possible for us to attend!