Healthwatch Essex Announces Winner of Campaign to Celebrate the County’s Healthcare Heroes

Healthwatch Essex has announced the winner of their campaign to celebrate Essex’s Healthcare Heroes.

Eight-year-old Alice Gray from Kelvedon St Mary’s Primary Academy was named winner of the competition which encouraged children across the county to design bunting to celebrate the people within the health service who have made the biggest difference to their lives.

Seventy schools across Essex registered to take part in the competition, which marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS, with Alice being picked as the overall winner from almost 1000 entries. Alice drew a picture of her experience of having an x-ray taken after she broke her collar bone. The vibrant bunting told us the story of how she was treated in A&E when she was just 18 months old, after falling off a bed at home. Her design included a teddy bear which the staff at hospital gave her for being so brave.

Ten-year-old Holly Banner-Martin, also from Kelvedon St Mary’s Primary Academy, won the Junior category with celebratory bunting featuring balloons around an NHS banner to say thank you to the NHS on their birthday. She described how the NHS had helped her mum when she had a stroke and how all of her experiences in the NHS had been ones in which the staff were kind and helpful.

Winner of the Infants category was five-year-old Lola Belle Smith from Great Bradfords Infant and Nursery School. Her design showed her visiting the doctor when she got Sellotape stuck in her nose. Her colourful depiction of the doctor helping her remove it, caught the judges’ attention.

In addition to the main categories, Healthwatch judged a Special Award for Patient Experience which was won by five-year-old Joshua Newman from Writtle Infant School. He told the story of being saved by the NHS on six separate occasions after experiencing problems with his heart when he was born prematurely. Joshua had 12 hours of heart surgery and said that he is now well. He acknowledged that, without the NHS, he wouldn’t be here today.

All of the entries will now be put on display at hospitals or healthcare settings in Essex from 5th July, so that patients and their families can see the wealth of different experiences that young people have as they engage with healthcare professionals.

The campaign, which is run in collaboration with the hospitals and Clinical Commissioning Groups in Essex, as well as Public Health England and Healthy Schools Essex, is designed to encourage young people to live active, healthy lifestyles and this year focusses on highlighting the importance of the people within the NHS who care for us and keep us fit and healthy.

Between them, the winners have won £1000-worth of activity equipment for their school and a chance for their design to feature on the front of Healthwatch Essex’s official birthday promotions.

Dr David Sollis, CEO of Healthwatch Essex, said: “People working across the county in health and social care environments make a huge difference to children from all walks of life and, as the National Health Service approaches its 70th birthday, the entries for our Lively Lives! Competition have captured some amazing stories of children’s lived experience of those services. Many of the stories we have read tell stories of how grateful the children have been for the treatment they have received when they have had accidents, been diagnosed with illnesses or needed help with ongoing conditions.

“For these children, the National Health Service has always been around to support them when they have needed it, but that hasn’t always been the case. Up until 70 years ago there was no such system which was free at the point of entry, so that it something we should celebrate and be particularly proud of on the anniversary of our health service. Congratulations to the winners and well done to all who entered our competition. All of the entries will now be displayed publicly so others can read the amazing stories that our judges had the opportunity to hear.”