Kate Granger lives on in compassionate care awards

The remarkable life and legacy of doctor, cancer patient and patient champion Kate Granger was celebrated yesterday at an awards ceremony.

Kate Granger was a geriatrician working in the NHS and just 29 years old when she was diagnosed in 2011 with a rare and aggressive cancer, desmoplastic small-round-cell tumour (DSRCT).

She lived another five years and, in that time, raised money and awareness for cancer charities and, most importantly, became a driving force for more patient-focused, compassionate health care.

After experiencing impersonal care from some doctors and healthcare professionals while being treated, Kate was moved to launch the #hellomynameis campaign to encourage healthcare professionals to introduce themselves properly to patients.

Kate passed away on 23 July this year and her life and legacy were celebrated at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, where the first day of the conference ended with the Kate Granger Awards for Compassionate Care.

This is the third year of the awards which aim to promote and recognise the best and most compassionate care in the health service.

Having been well enough to attend the first two years of the awards, Kate died before she could see this year’s event, which has grown, alongside the #HelloMyNameIs hashtag, to be a global beacon for compassionate care.

Her husband Chris Pointon introduced this year’s awards, speaking poignantly about Kate, saying she never wanted to be labelled ‘an inspiration’ – but nevertheless she was to many healthcare professionals, carers and patients.

Pointon said his late wife ‘epitomised compassion’ in her professional and personal life, and believed that the small things – like a doctor introducing themselves to patients at the start of a consultation – was ‘the first rung on the ladder to compassionate care’.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens was on hand to present one of the three awards presented, which honoured outstanding contributions from an individual, a team and an organisation in the NHS.

The three winners of this year’s awards were:

John Jackson – bereavement care leader and night porter, East Lancs NHS Trust – winner of the individual award

Walking Therapy Group, St. Andrew’s, Nottingham – providing care for young people with mental illness, autism and learning difficulties – winners of the team award

Pathway – caring for homeless people, won the organisation award

Always striving to not feel sorry for herself and simpy ‘get on with life’ Kate had recorded a video message earlier in the year in the event of her dying before this year’s awards. The recording was played to the conference, including a final tongue-in-cheek off-camera remark from Kate: “Was that tear-jerking enough?”

Jane Cummings, NHS England’s chief nursing officer also presented an award, and confirmed that the awards would continue in future years.

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