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Rotherham NHS communications employee honoured by the Queen

31 Dec 2020 16:01:43
Damian Staoles

The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust’s Communications Officer Damian Staples has received the royal seal of approval from Her Majesty the Queen in her New Year’s Honour’s List.

Damian has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the NHS during Covid-19. The prestigious accolade is presented to individuals like Damian who have provided a ‘hands-on,’ innovative service to the local community.

The 32-year-old, who has worked at the Trust for two-and-a-half years and the NHS for seven years, said: “I am completely overwhelmed and shocked to be named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. The news still hasn’t sunk in but I feel really proud to receive a BEM. 

“It’s a wonderful accolade and something I’ll never forget achieving. I’m sure it will be a career highlight for me. 2020 has been a strange year and we have all had to roll up our sleeves and do whatever needed doing. I’m pleased that what I did made a difference. I am really grateful to whoever put me forward for the award.”

Damian, from Worksop, achieved the BEM for keeping Trust colleagues and the public up to date on the ever-changing and complex Covid-19 situation. He provided a consistent, clear and informative approach to communications, working with colleagues at the Rotherham NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, neighbouring NHS trusts, the council and the voluntary sector.

He strengthened new working relationships with the local media to ensure balanced messages have been regularly provided to the public, reinforcing the national messaging and providing a reassuring voice in such difficult, stressful circumstances. 

Damian was often the first point of contact for Trust colleagues needing swift advice from the Staff Covid-19 Helpline, which was established by the Trust to provide a triage service for those who needed to access tests and information about Coronavirus. 

Damian also provided help and support wherever it needed, such as helping the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity receive and distribute generous donations.

He even continued working hard from home while in self-isolation as he battled the virus himself.

Dr Richard Jenkins, The Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Damian has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services relating to Covid-19.   Damian has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure that a continual flow of vitally important information reaches staff at the Trust to support them in their work as they care for our patients. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition Damian.”