NHS hails standout stars to mark 70th birthday

Dr Bijay Sinha

A campaigner for better patient care, a much-loved hospital porter and a former British Prime Minister made the top 70 in a poll of health and social care's standout stars of the last 70 years.

Dr Bijay Sinha, a consultant on a ward at Barts Health NHS Trust known for high discharge and low readmission rates, takes the top spot following a vote calling on people across the UK to nominate people who have made an exceptional contribution to the NHS and the wider health and care sector.

“I feel delighted to be appreciated by patients, and my colleagues,” said Dr Sinha. “My philosophy at my work is let your work do the talking, not your mouth. I always credit the patients for my success. All along my career, they have helped me to be a good doctor.

“My multidisciplinary team is the best in the hospital. I’m lucky to be part of it. If it’s an orchestra, I’m the conductor. I can’t be anything without them. Last but not, least, I’d like to thank my family. Without their support, I would not have achieved this.”


Second place went to Dr Sanjeev Nayak, a consultant interventional neuroradiologist at University Hospitals of North Midlands, who introduced and pioneered mechanical thrombectomy for stroke patients in the UK.

“I am delighted to be a winner,” said Dr Nayak. “It’s a recognition for the service that we have been running for a decade now. It’s a great honour to be recognised for this award, for all the work done by our team. I want to thank my team, and I also want to thank my family for being patient with the time that I’ve spent away from them to make sure this service is successfully implemented.”

The late great  Dr Kate Granger, an English geriatrician and campaigner for better patient care, takes the third spot. She worked for the Mid-Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust, and founded the #hellomynameis campaign. Dr Granger passed away in 2016 from a rare form of incurable cancer.

Chris Pointon, Dr Granger’s husband, received the award on her behalf. “Kate would be extremely proud of being included in these awards as part of the 70th celebration of the birthday of the NHS,” said Pointon.

“The NHS gave Kate her career but also looked after Kate through her journey with cancer. Kate loved the NHS, and everything it was about, from being free at the point of usage, to the whole ethos behind the establishment of the NHS. Despite being terminally ill, she still wanted to make a difference within the NHS.”

Other winners included a doctor with a three-decade career who works with patients with substance misuse problems and a hospital porter loved by staff and patients.

And coming in at number 10 was former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who presided over the greatest expansion of the NHS since its foundation.

Remarkable institution

Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “As many in Britain believe, the NHS is one of the most remarkable institutions in our country. And our tireless staff – all 1.5 million of them – are what make it so remarkable.

“By recognising members of our NHS workforce, and those on the outside who helped shape the system, we wanted to both celebrate the past and shape the future of health and care.

“The extremely diverse and varied list of winners who have dedicated their careers for a better system of health and care deserve no less than our recognition and honour.”

'Deserving of our personal gratitude'

Ruth May, the executive director of nursing at NHS Improvement, said: “These awards give us a chance to thank all those who have made the NHS the nation’s most loved institution for the past 70 years.

“Not least the people who make up the 350 different roles in the NHS workforce. They have dedicated their lives to providing compassionate care and treatment to people up and down the country.

“The 70 standout stars deserve our personal gratitude.”



As part of the NHS's 70th birthday celebrations, the campaign saw patients, staff and public nominating people who have made an exceptional contribution to patient care, services and local communities over the last 70 years.

The campaign, called “Health and Care’s Top 70 Stars” was launched by the NHS Confederation, along with NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Nominations were put to a public vote in May, resulting in the shortlist of 70 stars.

View the full list and find out more about them.

  • Dr Bijay Sinha, Consultant, Barts Health NHS Trust
  • Dr Sanjeev Nayak, Consultant, University Hospitals of North Midlands
  • Dr Kate Granger, English geriatrician and campaigner, Mid-Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust
  • Syringa Ward MDT at Whipps Cross Hospital
  • Debbie Taylor, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Paul Cassidy, Assistant Medical Director, Teams Medical, Practice
  • Adeeba Nishtar, Consultant, Kettering General, Hospital
  • Eleanor Coulter, Health Care Assistant, Northern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Liam Coulson, Porter, Kettering General Hospital
  • Tony Blair, Former politician
  • Mary Hinds, PHA's Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professions
  • Laura Costello, Customer Care Colleague, Guys and St Thomas
  • Elaine Brettel, Volunteer, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust 
  • Professor Brian Dolan, Director of health service 360
  • Brian Crilly, Northern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Carmel Synan-Jones, Associate Director of Nursing, Education and Leadership at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital
  • Debbie Tozer, GP, Beacon Medical Group
  • Pip Page-Davies, Staff Nurse, The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital
  • Hannah Martin, Parkinson's disease nurse specialist, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Jayne Carpenter, Nurse Practitioner, Royal Gwent Hospital
  • Paula Taylor, Adult Epilepsy Nurse, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Deborah Black, Superintendent Radiographer, Kettering General Hospital
  • Joanne Reynard, Infection Prevention and Control Nurse, Leeds Community NHS Trust
  • Rachel Hunt, Specialist Spinal Nurse, Evelina London Children’s Hospital
  • Sarah Leach, Personal Health Budget Implementation Manager, Warrington CCG
  • David Hall, Adult Nurse, Leeds Teaching Hospitals
  • Jonathan Lucas, Surgeon, Evelina London Children’s Hospital
  • Sarah Thomas, Health Care Support Worker, Wales NHS trust
  • Emergency and Intensive Care Teams, Salisbury District Hospital
  • Geraldine Ward, Catering Production Manager, Antrim Hospital
  • Gina Rowlands, Nurse and MD, Bevan Healthcare CIC
  • Rachael Moses, Consultant Physiotherapist, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals
  • Clare Burke, Matron, Glendun Nursing Home
  • Dr Phil Moore, Deputy Chair, NHS Kingston CCG
  • Heather Henry, Chair, NHS Alliance
  • Mrs Maura Dryden, Northern Ireland NHS
  • Roger Hurford, Physiotherapy Assistant, Wales NHS Trust
  • Tony Longbone, NHS Trust
  • Julie Fuller and Will Cartwright, Peer Support Workers, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care partnership trust
  • Judith Fairweather, NHS Trust
  • Dr Biswajit Chakrabarti, Consultant Respiratory Physician, Aintree University Hospital
  • Ellie Buchanan, Receptionist, Langley Green Mental Health Hospital
  • Jenny Clarke, NHS
  • Simon Cook, Service Manager Forensic and Learning Disability, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership's
  • Olivia Butterworth, Head of Patient and Involvement, NHS England
  • Paul Maubach, Chief Executive, Dudley CCG
  • Sarah Wale, 'Hearts Delight' RGN and Pets as Therapy Innovator, Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital
  • Alison Craig, Macmillan Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist, Antrim Macmillan Unit
  • Professor Shakeel Qureshi, Cardologist, Evelina London
  • The Team at The Hospice in the Hospital
  • Alan Simmons, Careers specialist, Health Education England
  • Dr Frank Pantridge, former Physician and Cardiologist
  • Helen Scullion, Urology Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Radiology, James Cook University Hospital
  • Jennie Sims, Belfast Health and Social care Trust
  • Kirstie Hempkin, Kettering General Hospital
  • Natasha Hope, Kent and Medway NHS and Social care partnership trust
  • Paula Irving, Patient Admission Coordinator, The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital
  • Vera Holley, Nurse, Good Hope Hospital
  • Alison Birtle, Consultant Oncologist, Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dame Cecily Saunders, Doctor and Nurse, NHS
  • Dr Sam Everington, GP, Tower Hamlets
  • Katie Stafford, Manager, Langley Green Hospital
  • Wendy Hancock, Clinical Manager, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust
  • Lisa Medhurst, Acute Care Group Matron and Triangle of Care star, Kent and Medway NHS and Social care Partership’s Trust
  • Louise Patmore, Peer Trainer Lead and Patient Leader, Sussex Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mandy Paine MBE, Dying Matters and the National Council for Palliative care
  • Mandy Wetheril, Forensic CPN, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership’s Trust 
  • Dr Yvonne Duff, Macmillan Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Northern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Ken Jarrold CBE, Chair, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
  • James Scott, Transport Department, Northern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Dr Mohamed Sakel, Director of Service and Consultant Clinical lead, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

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