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Spotlight falls on one of our special nurses


A nurse who works at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford is one of just four NHS faces chosen for a major campaign by Marks and Spencer, to thank their customers for supporting NHS charities.

Ray Atienza-Hawkes works on the Ambulatory Assessment Unit at the Oxford hospital, looking after mostly older patients with complex conditions.

He was put forward for the campaign by Oxford Hospitals Charity staff, who have worked closely with him over many years on projects to improve the hospital environment for patients and staff.

Ray was photographed outside of the John Radcliffe on his day off, and spoke about his experiences working through the COVID-19 pandemic over the past months.

He said: "I am not used to being in the lime light, so the experience was a little surreal but good fun. I am truly grateful to the incredible support we have had and know first-hand what a difference it has made to both NHS staff here and the patients we look after – so it was good to have the chance to say thank you publically.

"We've had some truly difficult times in recent months, so it was nice to be recognised in this way, though I am sure the team I work with are going to pull my leg a bit.

"I haven’t told my mum yet, that my photograph will be in stores across the UK. She lives in the Philippines, but knows Marks and Spencer well, so it’s going to be a real surprise for her, she will be thrilled I think."

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at the Trust, said: "Ray is a well-known nurse leader to all of us at our John Radcliffe Hospital – he epitomises our value of compassionate excellence in the manner that he delivers care to both our patients and our staff.

"He also has a unique presence of humility and leadership that fills the room, giving all around him the sense that virtual arms are around the patients, staff and their families – we are all extremely proud that Ray is one of the Oxford University Hospitals team and that he has been chosen to represent us and his profession during this time."

NHS Charities Together has had great support from many large national companies, including Marks and Spencer, whose customers have donated over £6 million to the national appeal by purchasing rainbow themed products.

Funding from Charities Together is being shared with hundreds of local NHS charities across the UK, including Oxford Hospitals Charity.

Oxford Hospitals Charity used funding from Charities Together to support Ray's team by providing a quiet room for staff during a particularly difficult period recently.

Sarah Vaccari, from Oxford Hospitals Charity, said:  "We work with some pretty extraordinary NHS staff in our hospitals, and never more so than in the recent intense months of 2020.

"So when we were asked to nominate a member of staff to represent our hospitals in a national campaign with Marks and Spencer, it was a tall order to narrow down all the incredible names that came to mind and settle on just one person.

"But one smiling face kept coming to mind, and we decided that Ray Atienza-Hawkes embodied the caring and professional ethos of Oxford University Hospitals.

"During the pandemic, Ray’s compassion has come to the fore, as his team has had to cope with some extremely challenging times."