Heather Carrick from Helensburgh has been named as a winner in the prestigious national WellChild Awards 2009. Heather collected her prize in London earlier this week and got to meet Prince Harry , one of Wellchild's patrons. She was nominated for an award by her colleague Annie Hair, Head of Children's Services for West Dunbartonshire Community Health Partnership.
Heather, who runs a team of Carers for children with complex needs and life limiting conditions in Helensburgh and West Dunbartonshire, was picked from record numbers of nominations to win the category of Best Nurse in these Awards which celebrate the courage of children and young people coping with serious health problems as well as recognising doctors, nurses, teachers, brothers and sisters who go the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of sick children.
The Awards are run by the WellChild – the national charity for sick children.
Heather held the post of Sister at the Vale of Leven Hospital’s former Special Care Baby Unit for many years. She then transferred her considerable skills and experience to running a service called ‘Can Care’, working within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
The Can Care Service provides weekly respite for parents of children with complex needs or life-limiting conditions.
18-year-old Jenna from Alexandria has Rett’s Syndrome which means she needs help with all aspects of daily living. Jenna has frequent epileptic seizures and requires to be fed via a gastrostomy tube.
Jenna also has impaired mobility and requires the use of a wheelchair to mobilise.
For Jenna’s Mum Sharon, life was very restrictive until Heather introduced Carers and trained them to meet Jenna’s needs.
This gave Sharon the ability and confidence to leave Jenna with these special carers to have some time away from home for shopping and meeting with family and friends.
Annie nominated Heather because she goes beyond the call of duty, giving far more time than she is paid for. Heather offers continuing support for the families, including those whose children have died.
The WellChild Award judges also learned how Heather’s support and encouragement has resulted in a very high retention rate amongst her staff which has given families much-needed stability and has led to some carers deciding to train as nurses.
Annie said: “Heather is truly a vocational nurse and an inspiration to her profession.
Jenna's mum Sharon added "This lovely, caring lady has made such a difference to our lives."
"It’s wonderful to see how Jenna’s face lights up when Heather comes to see her.”
Andrew Robertson, Chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “This national award is a fitting recognition of Heather’s skills and commitment to making a difference to children coping with very serious health problems and their families.
“The testimonial from one of the families Heather and her team work with sums up the dedicated care they receive.
“I am very pleased to add my own personal congratulations to Heather.”
For further information contact 0141 201 4429.