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Health Heroes Honoured for Bravery, Inspirational Care and Going the Extra Mile for Patients

November 26, 2012 8:20 PM

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Eight selfless NHS workers have been honoured for their bravery after putting their lives on the line to save their patients in two separate horror fire situations.

The eight heroes were amongst a group of 14 winners to receive prestigious NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Chairman’s Awards at a special ceremony in Glasgow.

The 14 worthy winners, across 10 categories, “represent the ethos of NHS care, quality and dedication” and were presented with their awards by Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil.

The awards recognise some of the most hardworking and dedicated staff from the UK’s largest health board, honouring those who have gone that extra mile to make a special difference to the lives of patients and their families as well as services which have been specifically designed to make life easier and better for patients.

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil, said: “It is inspiring to see the quality and diversity of the award winners here today. They represent and evidence the depth of commitment to dedicated patient care which runs throughout NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and indeed is reflected across Scotland. These awards have gone from strength to strength and I am personally delighted to be here to help honour the achievements of the category winners. The NHS is a wonderful institution built on compassion and professionalism and our ongoing priority is to continue to have patients at the centre of everything we do. Today’s winners are excellent examples of how we can showcase the best of NHS services.”

Townhead Health Centre nurses Agnes Malcolmson, Ann Fleming, Anetta Ziolek and storeman Danny Turner were honoured for saving the life of a patient who set himself on fire and for preventing any harm to other patients nearby.

When the patient set himself on fire Agnes and Danny instinctively rushed towards what Danny described as a “great ball of fire” at first unaware that it was a patient.

Agnes reached the patient first and said afterwards: “My fire training kicked in. It tells you to ‘drop and roll’ someone who is on fire and smother the flames.”

Just seconds behind Agnes was Danny, who pulled off his fleece jacket to extinguish the fire, and treatment room colleagues Ann Fleming and Anetta Ziolek who helped remove the patient’s clothes, provided emergency treatment and alerted the various emergency services.

While seriously injured the patient survived and amazingly Agnes’s own injuries were limited to two burnt fingers.

In a separate act of bravery Senior Charge Nurse Claire McCrae, deputy charge nurse Colette Campbell and nursing auxiliaries John Mirrlees and Sandra McGeachy received their award after putting their lives on the line to save a patient who set their room on fire at Gartnavel General Hospital.

Claire said: “When we got to the room the patient was surrounded by flames. The four of us got fire extinguishers and standing at the entrance to the room blasted away at the flames.

“We didn’t think at the time that we were doing anything brave, we just thought this is what we have to do. After all we are there to provide patient care and look after patients and this is what we had to do, look after our patients.”

NHSGGC Chairman, Andrew Robertson, said: “The quick thinking and bravery of these eight members of staff undoubtedly saved the lives of these patients and protected others who were in potential danger. Their caring and selfless actions embody the very ethos of the NHS and they are all very worthy winners of their bravery awards.”

Other NHSGGC Chairman’s Award winners include:
• two nurses who used exemplary skill to calm a severely autistic paediatric patient in A&E so that he could receive vital treatment,
• a hearing dog and his owner who have helped and inspired thousands of children with hearing impairment,
• a chemotherapy team who have created such a good rapport with patients that they actually look forward to receiving chemo,
• a 90 year old volunteer who has spent 30 years campaigning for better health, housing and welfare rights for pensioners and,
• a truly inspirational man who is helping the NHS ensure that inpatient care for people with learning difficulties is the best it can possibly be.

NHSGGC Chairman, Andrew Robertson, said: “This is the third year of these awards and I am delighted and impressed with the enthusiasm shown by staff, patients and their relatives in identifying worthy nominees.

“This year we received a tremendous 175 entries involving hundreds of members of staff and every single one of them had its own reason for being there.

“Today there are fourteen winners across the ten award categories – each one representing the ethos of NHS care, quality and dedication. I am also sure in addition to the entries received there are hundreds of other members of staff who are going that extra mile to make a special difference to the lives of patients and their families at the time of greatest need.

“It is my very great pleasure as Chairman of NHSGGC to mark out a few of the best of them in some small way and I applaud you all.”

The Chairman’s Awards are sponsored by Scottish Health Innovations Limited (SHIL) who work to develop new innovations from healthcare professionals.


For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]. 

Notes to Editors
*photographs of the award winners being presented with their awards by Cabinet Secretary for Health, Alex Neil and specific shots of the Townhead and Gartnavel bravery winners are being sent direct to your picture desks by Young Media.

*full stories and images for publication of the other award winners are all available on our media centre at or for the accompanying images at  

Full list of Chairman’s Award winners announced at a special ceremony as part of the NHSGGC annual review:

Bravery category winners
• Agnes Malcolmson, Danny Turner, Ann Fleming and Anneta Ziolek
• Claire McCrae, Colette Campbell, John Mirrlees and Sandra McGeach

Nursing category winners
• Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill staff nurses Dawn Fraser and Amanda Cameron
• Tommy Harrison, Senior Charge Nurse, at Rowanbank Clinic on the Stobhill Campus
• The Inverclyde Physical Disability Rehabilitation Unit

Clinical Practice winners
• Bran, a cross border collie terrier, and owner Lisa Davidson a British Sign Language officer in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill audiology department

Patient Centred Care winners
• The Chemotherapy Team at the New Victoria Hospital

Patient Ambassador winner
Edward Stanton

Volunteer winner
90 year-old Volunteer Lily Kennedy

Environmental winners
• Tommy Highet, a Domestic at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley

• 35 environmentally aware domestic staff from acute hospitals across NHSGGC who have upped their skills by achieving a British Institute of Cleaning Science

Improving Health winners
The Rapid Access Skin Cancer Clinic at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley

Using Resources Wisely winners
Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership

Working Well Together
The Mental Health Services Equality Development Group

Pic:  Colete Campbell, John Mirrlee, Claire McCrae and Sandra McGeachy, Gartnavel General Hospital

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Last Updated: 06 February 2015