Four lothian healthcare heroes take home top awards

Scottish Health Awards 2011 winners announced

Four outstanding health professionals and teams from across Lothian have been presented with a national accolade at the Scottish Health Awards 2011 for their invaluable contribution to Scottish healthcare.

Dr Thanos Tsirikos a spinal surgeon at The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh was amongst the winners, accepting the coveted Doctors Award at the prestigious award ceremony in Edinburgh last night (10 November).

The judges selected Dr Tsirikos as a worthy winner after a thankful mother nominated the skilled surgeon for the outstanding care he has provided her daughter and many other Scottish children. 

Dr Tsirikos is described as an exceptional and caring doctor by the mother who credits him with helping her daughter to walk again.  He is devoted to his patients and will often come in his days off to check on the progress of the children and reassure families.  To thank Dr Tsirikos for his expert care, local parents have even started a page dedicated to him on Facebook.

Speaking in her nomination, the grateful mother explains why Dr Tsirikos is a true healthcare hero, “He has saved the lives of many young children with spines that are so deformed they could puncture their lungs.  He has given my daughter the ability to walk rather than be in a wheelchair.  The care and love he has given to all of his patients is exceptional.  We can’t thank him enough for all that he has done.”

Sharon McMenemy, a charge nurse at the Mother and Baby Unit, St John's Hospital, Livingston also collected a top honour.  She collected the Nurses Award in recognition of the outstanding care she provides to very ill mothers who are admitted to hospital with their babies.

Sharon’s priority is always the wellbeing and safety of her patients, which is closely followed by the support she gives to the staff she works with.  She ensures the ward is a warm and welcoming place where patients and families can feel comfortable and supported.  Her team have the skills and confidence required to manage women who have very severe mental illnesses and successfully contain disturbed patients in a caring environment.

As a result of Sharon’s leadership the healthcare team is built on trust and mutual respect, to care for patients in a thoughtful and compassionate manner. The ward is always full of thank you cards from grateful patients and this year’s judges agreed with them, earning Sharon the Nurses Award.

The full list of winners from the Lothian includes:

  • Care at Home Award - Intensive Home Treatment Teams, NHS Lothian
  • Doctors Award –, Dr Thanos Tsirikos, spinal surgeon, Sick Kids, Edinburgh
  • Nurses Award – Sharon McMenemy, charge nurse, Mother and Baby Unit, St John's Hospital, Livingston
  • Quality Improvement Award - Dr Nicholas L Mills, senior lecturer and consultant cardiologist, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh/ University Centre for Cardiovascular Science

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy, Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Our ambition is to deliver the highest quality of healthcare to the people of Scotland, and these awards give us the opportunity to recognise those individuals and teams who are making an outstanding contribution to that ambition.  All those nominated have gone that extra mile to deliver consistent, reliable and responsive healthcare for everyone.”
 “Over 400 nominations were received across the 14 award categories.  Many of these were from patients and the public, and all nominations showcased excellent examples how individuals, teams and local NHS systems are working together with patients, families and carers.  I would like to congratulate the winners and the runners up for their enthusiasm and commitment to improving the quality of care delivered by our NHS which I believe is amongst the best in the world.”

Alan Boyter, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, NHS Lothian, said:

“I am delighted that four individuals or teams from the Lothians have been awarded an accolade at this year’s Scottish Health Awards.
“These Awards highlight the excellent work that goes on across the NHS every day. My congratulations go to all of our winners and finalists on this well-deserved recognition.”

The Scottish Health Awards recognise and reward the commitment and hard work of those who work in, and with, NHS Scotland to provide an outstanding level of care to the public.

To view the full list of winners, or for more information, please visit