In just two weeks, the finalists for the Oxfordshire Health & Social Care Awards will be announced.

Our judges are currently working hard to narrow their shortlist. The three finalists in each category will be announced later this month in a special insert that will highlight each hope and their efforts in the fight against the coronavirus.

As we eagerly await the panel’s decision, this week we once again put the spotlight on some of the incredible health teams, frontline workers, and volunteers currently running for an award.

Chantal Nicolau, a dedicated caregiver at Oxford Aunts who even prepared champagne dinners for her 100-year-old client to keep her in good spirits during the pandemic, is one of the unsung heroes nominated in the home care worker category. She was nominated for the award by Shila Odedra-Silvera, Business Development Director at Oxford Aunts.

“Chantal embodies the ideal qualities of a nursing staff,” said Shila. “She is kind, compassionate, person-centered, and selfless. This became even more important during the lockdown when it became clear that the health risks associated with Covid-19 were particularly harmful to the elderly and the vulnerable. When [her client] Ms. R. shared how deeply she felt that she could not see friends and go to a restaurant. Chantal brought the restaurant to her. On several occasions she made a lovely three course meal with champagne or wine and played the roles of cook, waitress and guest just to keep them entertained. When the lockdown restrictions wore off, she began introducing Ms. R. to her friends again and hosting socially distant afternoon tea parties in the garden. ”

Among those applying for a spot in the Healthcare Team Award is the Oxford Hospitals Charity, whose staff and volunteers took to the front lines at the start of the coronavirus outbreak and transformed into an emergency team practically overnight. The organization was nominated by Sarah Vaccari, Head of Communication at Oxford Hospitals Charity.

“During the pandemic, the hospital’s charities and volunteer teams worked together to provide unprecedented levels of support to staff and patients at John Radcliffe, Churchill, Nuffield Orthopedic Center, Horton General and Oxford Children’s Hospital,” said Sarah. “Overnight, the charity switched from being a grant-making organization to being an emergency team, and the volunteer services were recruiting new members to replace many of their regular teams that had to provide protection. The charity made an urgent appeal, reached out to the local community, and worked daily with the ICU and ward staff to find what they needed most. The volunteers then distributed this support to the hospitals. To quote the Trust’s Chief Nursing Officer, they “put their arms around us” to support NHS staff and patients during this complex time. ”

Also in the running for the Healthcare Team Award is the Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Mental Health Helpline, a free service launched by NHS staff and nurses in just seven days in response to Covid-19. Oxford East MP, Anneliese Dodds, who nominated the Helpline volunteers for the award, praised the team for taking on the challenge of helping the most vulnerable in their hour of need and “diverting demand from 111 and basic services “.

“More than 2,200 calls have been received, 1,500 in the first seven weeks,” she said. “The team members’ can-do attitude has been credited with overcoming challenges, including timeframes, positioning at multiple sites, aligning and maintaining different clinical models in different regions, rapid recruitment and training, and commissioning uncertainty. The team embodies the heart of the NHS – experts from various industries combine expertise to care for patients. ”