Surprising And Celebrating Our Staff Who Made A Difference | News and events

Surprising And Celebrating Our Staff Who Made A Difference | News and events

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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway and Barnet.

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Surprising And Celebrating Our Staff Who Made A Difference

As we began our response to COVID-19, we had to cancel our Make a Difference staff awards ceremony – but we haven’t let the pandemic stop us celebrating our amazing colleagues!

So we decided to celebrate their amazing achievements a little differently this year… 

Our Chief Executive, Professor Oliver Shanley OBE, and Chair, Joe Fielder, toured our hospitals, clinics and offices this summer to surprise our nine incredible winners during secret presentations organised by their managers and colleagues. 

Watch a video of our winners receiving their surprise awards and hear more about why they won. (Spoiler alert: you might need a tissue!) 

Every year our Make a Difference Awards recognise staff who go above and beyond to deliver great care for our patients and support each other, and this year’s recipients – who were selected before the pandemic – are examples of true NHS heroes. 

From spending Christmas Day visiting patients who were alone, to ensuring the safety of vulnerable children, from working hard in exceptionally difficult circumstances, to protecting the dignity and welfare of patients who spend a long time in our wards, our 2019/2020 Make a Difference Awards winners show the breadth of care and amount of exceptional talent and hard work we have at NELFT. 

Oliver Shanley, Chief Executive, said: “As a community and mental health NHS Trust, our staff often care for people in their most vulnerable moments, so compassion, kindness and understanding are essential to providing great care to all our patients, and each of our winners have shown this in droves."

“I am incredibly proud to work alongside them and am humbled by their unwavering commitment to patient care. Congratulations to all our winners and a huge thank you for everything you do.” 

Joe Fielder, Chair, said: “A unique year called for a unique celebration of our amazing staff, and Oliver and I were delighted to visit all our winners personally and surprise them in front of their managers and teams."

“The pandemic has really brought the hard work and dedication of the NHS into focus, but we know NHS workers show commitment to their patients each other every day, and our awards celebrate those who go even further. I am very proud to be the Chair of NELFT and work with people who do amazing things every day.” 


  • NELFT Nurse Award: Rose Mitchell, Community Staff Nurse
  • Care and Compassion Award: Rose Mitchell, Community Staff Nurse
  • Team/Department Award: Acute Crisis and Assessment Team (ACAT)
  • Leadership Award: Debbie Feetham, Assistant Director Immediate Care
  • Outstanding Achievement Award: Salim Danyen, Integrated Care Assistant
  • Improvement to Services Award: Karen Mills, Deputy Ward Manager
  • Working in Partnership Award: Jennifer Iheanetu, School Nurse
  • Chair’s Special Recognition Award: Justine Reed, Respiratory Nurse
  • Harm Free Care Award: Diane Quinn, Community Mental Health Nurse

Stay tuned for the next two weeks as we share stories about all our nine winners.