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Southern Trust’s ‘Health Hero’ Mary wins gold

12th June 2023

Mary is pictured receiving her award with Paul Sinha (Host) and Sara Gorton (Head of Health at UNISON).

An ‘integral cog’ in the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s Community Integrated Care Team, has scooped the top prize at a national award ceremony.

Mary McElroy, who is a key member of the Administration Team, was awarded the gold award in the ‘Operational Support Worker of the Year’ category, at the prestigious ‘Our Health Heroes Awards’ ceremony in London on 07 June 2023.

Upon receiving her award, Mary said:

“There are moments in life that take your breath away and this is certainly one of those moments – winning this award.

“I’d like to thank my truly brilliant and outstanding Social Work Professional Lead Shane Fearon who steered our team onwards and upwards from day one. I would also like to thank all my colleagues on the Integrated Care Team at Dungannon for all their help and support over the years.”

Integrated Care Teams (ICTs) bring together Community and District Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Social Workers and more, to work as one and serve the local area. Mary plays a vital role in ensuring that all staff can do their jobs and ensure that service users receive the best possible care.

Congratulating her on her award Shane said:

“In everything she does, Mary, is an excellent representative of the Southern Trust, upholding all our core values: openness and honesty, excellence, compassion and working together.

“At times the Administrative roles can be undervalued, however here in Dungannon the Social Team all hold Mary in high regards for all that she does to keep the train on the tracks and we feel she is a more than a worthy candidate for this award.”

Brian Beattie, Director of Adult Community Services, added:

“Mary’s contribution and support to the Social Work Team has supported them to be a high performing team, among the Integrated Care Teams within the Adult Community Services Directorate in the Trust. I would like to congratulate Mary and say how happy I am to hear that Mary has deservedly been recognised on a National stage for this award.”

UNISON’s Head of Health Sara Gorton (who sponsored the awards) added:

“Congratulations to the brilliant finalists and winner of this award. This award recognises the importance of the jobs and individuals who keep us safe, informed and supported when we are at our most vulnerable. The care and compassion of Receptionists, Cleaners, Porters, Security staff and all the other unsung heroes in the NHS family, really makes a difference to patients, families and other health workers.”

The Skills for Health Our Health Heroes Awards is sponsored by UNISON, NHS England, NHS Employers and more: