Local efforts to reduce health inequalities during the Covid-19 pandemic have been recognised with the Covid-19 Vaccination Team winning the NHS Parliamentary Award for Health Equalities.

The NHS Parliamentary Award for Health Equalities, which recognises work to bring together different groups and organisations to reduce health inequalities and prevent ill health, has been awarded to the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Covid-19 Vaccination Team for its tremendous work over the past two years.

The Vaccination Team includes workers from the NHS, councils, general practice, the voluntary and community sector, and other organisations. The partnership addressed inequalities in accessing the vaccine by successfully reaching out to groups and communities that might have otherwise struggled, such as homeless people, those living in areas of high deprivation, seasonal workers, vaccine-hesitant populations, and those who weren’t registered with a local GP.

Simon Trickett, Chief Executive of NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire said: “I’m delighted that our system has won this award. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the existing health inequalities suffered by many people, and our approach to the vaccination programme provided us with the opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the people and communities we serve.

“This award is for each and every one of those who worked to deliver the vaccines, from the larger vaccination centres through to our community outreach teams. We have a vision for more integrated health and care services across the two counties, and this is an excellent example of partners working together for the benefit of our population.”

Councillor Karen May, Member with Responsibility for Health and Wellbeing at Worcestershire County Council said;“Throughout the pandemic Worcestershire County Council has worked with our health partners to support the delivery of vaccinations and protect our residents from Covid-19. I am delighted to see that hard work has been recognised in these awards and congratulate everyone who has worked so tirelessly. The dedication and commitment of everyone involved has helped to protect our residents and ensure we continue to have strong partnerships in healthcare going forward.”

Councillor David Hitchiner, Leader for Herefordshire Council said: “Congratulations to the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Covid-19 vaccination team for winning this Parliamentary Award for their work in reducing health inequalities during the Covid-19 pandemic. This recognition is very well deserved. The support of our health partners and their staff has been invaluable for ourselves as a local authority and for our Herefordshire residents during what has been an extremely difficult time for us all over the past few years and we cannot thank them enough for their outstanding work.”

Dr Mohammed Saqib Anwar, Deputy Regional Medical Director at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “It was so heart-warming to read about all the fantastic work that is being done by some amazing individuals and teams across the region.

“Heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and the nominees – it is people and teams like these that are the heartbeat of the NHS.”

The NHS Parliamentary Awards was launched in 2018 to celebrate the NHS’ 70 birthday and recognise the outstanding contribution of staff, volunteers and others working in the health and care sector.

As regional winners, the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Covid-19 Vaccination Team will now go head-to-head with other winners from across the country for the chance to win the prestigious national award which will be presented at a special ceremony in the House of Commons on 6 July 2022.

The full list of regional winners can be found here: Categories | NHS Parliamentary Awards