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OUH volunteers and staff presented High Sheriff’s Awards

This article is more than one year old.

More than 14,000 staff members and around 1,000 volunteers at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) have been honoured with awards by the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire as he finishes his term in office.

To mark the end of his term as High Sheriff at the end of last month (March 2022), Imam Monawar Hussain presented the two separate 'High Sheriff Awards' - one for volunteers, the other for all staff - to thank all those at OUH and associated colleagues for all they have done during the pandemic.

Staff 'responded magnificently'

Imam Monawar Hussain awarded the High Sheriff's Award to OUH staff "for great and valuable service to the people of Oxfordshire during the COVID-19 pandemic".

He added: "My theme of 'Celebrating Oxfordshire's Heroes' during my term as High Sheriff was inspired through witnessing first-hand the compassion, respect, and professionalism, with which staff at OUH served and cared for COVID-19 patients during one of the most difficult times in modern history.

"It is therefore appropriate that, as my year as High Sheriff concludes, I recognise all staff from and associated with the Trust who have served the people of our county and beyond, with the prestigious High Sheriff's Award. Thank you, on behalf of the county, for all that you have done."

The OneTeamOneOUH response to the pandemic has involved every single part of the Trust, working closely with partner organisations.

Many experiences have been 'beyond words' and these have been documented in a book that permanently records images to mark an extraordinary time in the personal and professional lives of staff.

Andrew Carter, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer at the Trust, said: "Our staff, supported by volunteers and local health partners, have responded magnificently to the challenges posed by COVID-19, the greatest challenge in NHS history.

"It has been inspiring to witness the courage and innovation shown by members of our OneTeamOneOUH across all our sites. On behalf of the Trust Board, a heartfelt thank you to all staff - clinical and non-clinical - for everything that they have done and continue to do for our patients as well as each other.

"This award is in recognition of everything they do each and every day to provide the best possible care for our patients and deliver compassionate excellence. They should be proud of the difference they have made to so many people in our local community."

Volunteers - 'Oxfordshire's heroes'

Over the last two years - and particularly at peak times of COVID-19 - volunteers have been the backbone of the Trust's efforts to support staff while they care for patients in our hospitals.

They have helped distribute PPE, staffed help desks, raised funds, and have always supported all Trust sites. Many help on a weekly basis and give their time freely to help others.

Imam Monawar Hussain said: "I am delighted to present the High Sheriff's Award to volunteers from across OUH who give their precious time, energy, and experience, for the benefit of the people of Oxfordshire - and beyond. They are all truly Oxfordshire's heroes."

One of those volunteers is Meena Rowland who, after retiring just before the first national lockdown, was inspired by "the amazing work that our wonderful NHS staff have done throughout the pandemic" and began volunteering at the John Radcliffe Hospital in August 2021.

She said: "I really wanted to give something back and make whatever contribution I could. I look forward to continuing my volunteering for as long as I am physically able and doing my bit to help others."

Bridget Daly, Voluntary Services Co-ordinator at OUH, said: "Volunteers are an essential part of OUH, and the contribution and commitment that they make each day is greatly appreciated by patients, visitors, and members of staff.

"The last two years have been particularly demanding for everyone, including volunteers. Many have undertaken new, challenging roles during the pandemic and, whatever the situation, volunteers always turn up with a friendly smile and a willingness to help in any way they can.

"It is such a privilege to work with such a dedicated team, and it's wonderful that all the team have been recognised for the vital voluntary work that they do."

Douglas Graham, Chief Executive Officer at Oxford Hospitals Charity, said: "The past two years have seen Oxford Hospitals Charity and the Trust volunteers team working more closely together than ever to provide extra support for NHS staff and patients during this enormously challenging time.

"We couldn't have done what was needed in our hospitals without this partnership with the wonderful, dedicated volunteers, so it is very special to see this vital work honoured."

Terry Roberts, Chief People Officer at the Trust, said: "We are very grateful for all that our volunteers do, and what they do on a day-to-day basis is very much valued and appreciated by our patients, visitors, and staff."

Pictured: Imam Monawar Hussain presents the certificate to the Volunteers and Voluntary Services