Two local health and care heroes will be representing Southampton at the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards at the Palace of Westminster this week, a prestigious award ceremony to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday.
Chris and Steve Beal were chosen as regional champions in the Patient and Public Involvement Award category. They will now vie with other regional winners from across the country for the national award, which will be presented at a special ceremony on Wednesday 4 July – the day before the NHS’s 70th birthday.
Chris and Steve were nominated by Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen Constituency, for the amazing work they do to support people in Southampton and the local NHS.
Steve chairs the Consult and Challenge group which is run by service users and carers, who are ‘Experts by Experience’, and possess a wealth of knowledge on their own requirements and capabilities.
They also work to improve access for deaf people around Southampton. As a result of their work with Let’s Loop Southampton, many businesses and organisations in the city are now installing hearing loops. This includes twenty hearing loops in St Mary’s football stadium, following a period of partnership working between Chris and Steve and Southampton Football Club. This example alone means potentially thousands of people with hearing loss will benefit. The project also reassures people with hearing loss about which businesses are accessible and already fully equipped with hearing loops.
They are also active members of NHS Southampton City CCG’s Communications and Engagement Group, raising issues from their local community in the east of the city for the CCG to investigate and being involved in consultations and service changes.
Chris and Steve Beal said: “We were both surprised and pleased to be nominated, we feel as citizens of the city we should get involved and try to change things where possible for people.
“We have loved being part of the group Consult and Challenge and also the big project of Let's Loop Southampton, where we are trying to make shops, doctors surgeries and public places aware of deafness, as this is affecting not just the elderly but younger people as well.”
Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen Constituency, said: “I am really pleased that Chris and Steve Beal have been crowned regional champions in the patient and public involvement category. It seems fitting as we celebrate seventy years since the founding of the NHS, to recognise local community champions Chris and Steve for the work they are doing across Southampton. I am honoured to play my part in nominating them and wish them the best of luck in the national awards.”
Dr Mark Kelsey, Clinical Chair of NHS Southampton City CCG said: “I am delighted that Chris and Steve have been recognised for their excellent efforts in involving the public in NHS projects around Southampton. Their work, over many years, to help and advise the CCG on our patient engagement has been invaluable. They dedicate a huge amount of time to support the NHS in the city and, in particular, improve access for deaf people through their Let’s Loop Southampton initiative.
“Without volunteers like Chris and Steve, the NHS and Southampton would be much worse off. They are a real inspiration. That’s why I am so delighted that in our 70th year, the NHS is recognising their amazing efforts. They would be very deserving winners of the national award”
In Southampton we have also been gathering memories from local people and members of staff to mark 70 years of the NHS in the city. These are all available on our website at www.southamptoncityccg.nhs.uk.