Peer project support worker Debs Taylor has been chosen by public vote as number five in a list of the UK’s health and care’s top 70 stars from across the last 70 years.
Launched by the NHS Confederation, in partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement, the scheme recognises health and care staff who have gone over and above the call of duty and gives them UK-wide recognition as part of the NHS’ 70th birthday celebrations.
Patients, staff and the public were all invited to nominate employees that have made an exceptional contribution to patient care, health and care services and local communities over the last 70 years. Nominations were then put to a public vote last month.
The list of the UK’s ‘top 70’ standout staff was revealed at the Confederation’s annual conference on 14 June.
Debs is one of the Trust’s most inspirational success stories. Battling with depression, she was left isolated, lost, and with no desire to go on. However, after picking up a leaflet for an art group funded by the Trust’s linked charity, Creative Minds, her life was completely transformed. Debs now works for Creative Minds as a peer project support worker and has sold and exhibited her artwork across the country.
She works tirelessly to speak out for service users to try to change the wider mental health system to be more service-user friendly and to promote social prescribing.
Debs said: “I just wanted to cry I was that shocked. I really was not expecting it, coming 5th was just incredible. I’m still buzzing about it! I’m still in shock I’ve come this far in such a short space of time. Life really is different. I’m truly humbled and shocked but inspired to keep working as hard as I can for service users and carers in every area of the NHS. Thank you to everyone who voted for me.”