There’s still time to nominate your unsung NHS hero - find out how here...

The Healthcare Hero Awards 2013 are open for entries now!The Healthcare Hero Awards 2013 are open for entries now!

It’s been six weeks since we launched the Healthcare Hero Awards, and we’ve had an overwhelming response from readers wanting to recognise their unsung heroes.

Nominations for the awards, run by the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust in association with the Gazette, have flooded in from both NHS staff and the public.

Gemma Ruff, an occupational therapist in the Holsworthy complex care team, has nominated her colleague Jane Wason, a community matron based at Holsworthy Hospital.

“Jane works tirelessly and way beyond the call of duty to ensure her patients and the community are supported and looked after in their homes,” said Gemma.

“She works as long as is needed to get her work done and is always so professional, empathetic, caring and immensely dedicated.

“She is amazing with our patients and builds up an instant rapport. She never says no and is such a great member of the team who really deserves this award.”

Hazel Shams Eldin, a senior healthcare assistant at Bideford Hospital, has also been nominated by a colleague, Kim Brown.

She said: “Hazel is truly dedicated to her job and the care she gives is exceptional, reliable and comforting for the patients.

“Hazel is always enthusiastic with any task, professional in her appearance and manner, and always willing to go that extra mile for her colleagues and her patients.”

Last week we featured midwife Julie Haydn-Higgins, and within hours of the Gazette hitting the streets three more nominations came in for her.

One of the nominations was from Sammy Smith, who said: “When my sister was in labour with her first child she was brilliant.

“I wasn’t allowed in but she comforted my sister and sat with her when she found it difficult.”

The Healthcare Hero Awards are open to any of the 2,500 employees across North Devon and Torridge – from doctors and nurses, therapists and support staff, to cleaners and porters. Please note GP Surgeries are not included.

● To nominate your Healthcare Hero by Tuesday, December 31, email reporter Sarah Howells at, or write to Healthcare Hero, C/O Sarah Howells, North Devon Gazette, Unit 3, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, Devon EX32 8PB.