Health Minister invites nominations for mental health nursing awards

Health Minister Edwina Hart has encouraged patients and staff to nominate mental health and learning disability nurses for a top Welsh award.

The annual award scheme, which is now in its fourth year, aims to recognise the significant – but often overlooked – contribution of mental health and learning disability nurses to the NHS in Wales.

The Mental Health and Learning Disability Nursing Awards are intended for individuals or teams that are working within mental health, child and adolescent mental health services, and learning disability services within NHS Wales.

This year’s awards are being expanded to highlight the role of nurses in child and adolescent mental health services as well as a new award voted for by patients.

Mrs Hart said: “I presented last year’s awards and was extremely impressed by the standard of nominations and the winning entrants. I know that the judges had a difficult time in coming up with the winners. That shows the exceptional work that goes on every day in caring for some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“Often the work of mental health nurses and learning disability nurses gets overlooked, but they have an important role to play in the health service.

“The awards recognize the significant contribution that nurses are making to modernize our mental health and learning disability services.

“I would encourage anyone – whether you are a colleague or a patient – to consider nominating a mental health or learning disability nurse. I have no doubt the quality of entrants will be as high as last year.”

The awards will be presented by the new Chief Executive of NHS Wales Paul Williams at a ceremony at the All Nations Centre, Cardiff on 26 March 2009.

John Abbott, Campaigns Manager for Hafal, Wales’ leading charity for people with serious mental illness and their carers, welcomed the awards.

John, who is also a member of the Wales Alliance for Mental Health (WAMH), which brings together charities working in the field of mental health in Wales, said: “The Wales Alliance for Mental Health welcomes the decision to recognise the very important role played by mental health nurses in supporting and aiding the recovery of people with a mental illness in Wales.

“WAMH is very pleased to offer its support in raising awareness of this award and encourages nominations from across Wales.”

Nominations should be made by Nurse Executives and/or relevant Senior Nurses within NHS Trusts or Local Health Boards within NHS Wales. The deadline is January 23rd 2009.

Nominations for the new patient selected award are being dealt with separately and should be sent to johnabbott@hafal.org or to John Abbott, Campaigns Manager, Hafal, Suite C2, William Knox House, Britannic Way, Llandarcy, Neath SA10 6EL. The deadline for nominations for this award is January 31st 2009.

The picture accompanying this story, on the mentalheealthwales’ newspage, is of John Abbott.