Cambridge University Hospitals is thanking all its staff, partners and volunteers who worked though the pandemic with a specially designed Covid Star award.
After almost two years of Covid, CUH is recognising the outstanding contribution those working at the hospital have made during this exceptional time, and the personal price many have paid in caring for patients and supporting each other.
The Covid Star award is one of the ways the hospital is thanking colleagues for their professionalism, dedication, courage and overwhelming kindness.
In total around 13,500 will be awarded during special presentations throughout this week.
You have played a vital role in the nation’s response to the pandemic. We are simply in awe of youRoland Sinker, chief executive of CUH
In a letter to all staff and partners, including contractors that have worked with the Trust so tirelessly during this period, CUH chief executive Roland Sinker said:
"Whatever your role has been during this time, you have made a difference.
"We know many of you have suffered loss, made personal sacrifices to continue your work, changed the way you work, worked in unfamiliar areas of the hospital, and extended your services to provide care to patients; everyone has been affected in some way and everyone has a story to tell.
"The last two years has changed us, and the world, forever. You are a hugely valued part of our CUH family. We are simply in awe of you."
Nurse Shirley Fordham has worked at CUH for 38 years. On receiving her Covid Star she said:
“I love my job, and that is what this boils down to. I can assure you that if your loved one or relative was here, I would do my absolute utmost.
“We have to show warmth, we have to show compassion – it’s not trainable – it’s either in your or it isn’t. I am 63 but I promise to carry on as long as possible. Addenbrooke’s is in my blood.”
Katie Bartram is an intensive care nurse, working on the John Farman Critical Care Unit. She said:
“It has been a rollercoaster. It was very scary for us and our patients, and their relatives. But it was teamwork that got us through this.”
The Covid Star is the work of Cambridge based artist Harry Gray and was inspired by his own experiences in hospital.
While on the wards with NHS staff, Harry often heard the phrase, 'they deserve a medal' so decided to design something to honour them.
The shape of the Covid Star is the Maltese Cross, a familiar and ancient motif used by many including St John's Ambulance and the Nightingale Badge of St Thomas's.
At its centre is a subtle reference to the Covid-19 molecule with a scalloped rim to represent the spiked surface of the virus, which is now being successfully targeted by lifesaving vaccines.
Each medal is handmade in Birmingham by specialist jewellers, Thomas Fattorini Ltd who hold royal warrant to craft insignia and honours for Her Majesty the Queen.
Harry said: “It is really important to me that The Covid Star is made in the UK, and it is now giving work to the specialist UK craftsmen of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
“Large orders like the one for Cambridge University Hospitals is enabling these firms to train up a new generation of young apprentices in traditional enamelling skills. ”
We are incredibly grateful that you are a member of the NHS and CUH family and proud to have achieved all that we have togetherRoland Sinker, chief executive CUH
The Covid Star medal is a not for profit project.
The idea is to create a lasting way to thank healthcare workers, something that can be cherished, proudly worn in daily life and kept as an heirloom in years to come.
Each Covid Star costs £12.50 and is being paid for by CUH. In addition each member of CUH staff has been given a one off recognition payment of £147 (before tax).
In his message to CUH staff, Roland Sinker added:
"You have played a vital role in the nation’s response to the pandemic. We are incredibly grateful that you are a member of the NHS and CUH family and proud to have achieved all that we have together.