NHS at 75: competition winners demonstrate pride and service

Our Care category winner: ‘We’ve got you’ by Ewa Gasior, of Leeds Teaching Hospitals

Two NHS staff members in London have won their categories in a Fujifilm photography competition for NHS staff and volunteers to mark 75 years of the health service.

Today, July 5, 2023, marks 75 years since the founding of the National Health Service.

Treating more than 1million people a day in England, the NHS touches all our lives.

When it was founded in 1948 by Nye Bevan and the Labour government, the NHS was the first universal health system to be available to all, free at the point of delivery.

Today, 9-in-10 people agree that healthcare should be free of charge, more than 4-in-5 agree that care should be available to everyone, and that the NHS makes them most proud to be British.

The winning photographs, all taken by NHS staff, in many ways seek to encapsulate that sense of great public pride, and immense service.

Our Innovations category winner: ‘The solution’ by Wasim Baqir of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. This image was taken on Christmas Eve 2020 in an NHS covid vaccination clinic. The NHS vaccine programme was the solution to getting society out of the pandemic. This picture depicts used vaccine vials in an orange sharps bin. ‘In 2020, the NHS faced one of its biggest challenges and, as one, we stepped up for our people’

The five overall winners were unveiled at a ceremony at Fujifilm House in Soho.

The national competition, run by NHS England in partnership with Fujifilm, saw hundreds of the health service’s staff and volunteers from across the country enter photographs that told their unique stories of what the NHS means to them.

The winners were picked from a shortlist of 75 photographs across five different categories. Their photographs will be displayed at the NHS 75th anniversary service being held today at Westminster Abbey.

All of the 75 shortlisted images will also be displayed in a public exhibition titled “Our NHS at 75”, held at the Fujifilm House of Photography in Covent Garden.

Our People category winner: ‘Dedication’ by Emmanuel Espiritu from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

The winners include a portrait of a nurse at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital who has been looking after patients for 47 years. Senior Nurse Emmanuel Espiritu took the image, entitled “Dedication”, which took the prize for the Our People category and depicts a nurse affectionally named “Mother Obe”, who is renowned for sharing nearly half a century of expertise as a mentor to new nurses.

Espiritu said: “I’ve been working in theatres as a senior anaesthetic nurse for 22 years and work as a freelance photographer in my spare time covering events such as weddings, birthdays and also taking portraits.

“My wife works day-in, day-out with Mother Obe and I was asked by my wife to take her portrait as a retirement gift. I took inspiration from the Mona Lisa in creating her portrait.”

The winning entry in the Our Partners category was from Jenny Brodie and Mary McConnell, from the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Free Charity.

This category celebrates the crucial role partnerships play in helping us deliver the best possible care for patients.

Our Partners category winner: ‘Paul and Flo’ by Mary McConnell and Jenny Brodie, Royal Free

“Paul and Flo” captures the caring interaction between Flo Blackett, a freelance hairdresser funded by the Royal Free Charity to visit patients weekly, and patient Paul Lederman.

Jenny Brodie, who took the winning photo, said: “I think the image captures something special that we often hear from patients about the services we provide – for a brief time, they aren’t defined by their illness or condition. For those few moments, they are simply themselves.”

Dr Chris Streather, the medical director for the NHS in London, said: “I want to offer my personal congratulations to London colleagues who submitted shortlisted and winning entries in this competition, as we mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS.

“It is inspiring to see, in photo form, the care and dedication of our staff that we value so greatly as these images mark the outstanding achievements our of health service and celebrate the talents of our staff.”

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