Thomas Gregory-Smith has been shortlisted for the Clinical Support Worker of the Year award at Our Health Heroes Awards 2021. Being a finalist means that Tom is in the running to claim gold, silver or bronze, but the final position will be decided by a public vote.

Vote for Tom at skillsforhealth.org.uk/about-us/vote-for-your-our-health-heroes/ before February 8. Your vote will also shine a light on support workers who play a crucial role in the delivery of exceptional care but whose role often goes unnoticed.

Tom works as a community support worker in the Older Adults Community Mental Health Team at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. He was nominated by team manager Daniel Mercier who said:

“I nominated Tom after being inspired by his excellent, creative and tireless work in the City Older Adult Community Mental Health Team. Tom always makes himself available to support colleagues – everything from covering reception when the team is short-staffed to co-facilitating complex clinical interventions.

“It has been a joy to see our service users benefiting from Tom’s psycho-spiritual work, and service users and colleagues alike have benefited from Tom’s musical abilities.

“It’s rare to see someone contribute to a team in such wonderfully varied ways. Tom is truly one of a kind and I’m delighted that he has been recognised in national awards. Well deserved!”

Tom has been playing violin since he was four and uses music to build rapport and engage the people he supports. He finds his work immensely rewarding.

“There is a sense that you are really providing a benefit; that without your input the person’s life would not be as good as it can be. Often it is in part because of your support that a person is keeping some level of independence. Over a period of time, they may be discharged from our service and remain well for long periods of time. You know that being able to spend that detailed time with them has made a lasting difference,” Tom says.

Katrina Anderson, Service Director for Oxfordshire, Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon & Wiltshire Mental Health said:

“I am delighted and proud that Thomas has been shortlisted for this award. Mental health community support workers do incredible work to help our service users live independent and fulfilling lives. People like Thomas may work with a patient for a few weeks or for many years. During the coronavirus pandemic this work has been more challenging and important than ever. I hope this nomination shines a light on these professionals who are less known than doctors or nurses but whose work is a real lifeline for our service users.”

Tom is already on medals – help him win by casting your vote at skillsforhealth.org.uk/about-us/our-health-heroes before February 8.

Our Health Heroes are national awards, organised now for the 5th time by Skills for Health, a not-for-profit organisation committed to the development of an improved and sustainable healthcare workforce across the UK, together with partners NHS Employers, UNISON and Bevan Brittan. The awards recognise the extraordinary people at the heart of our NHS and social care workforce.

Finalists and nominees will be celebrated, and winners announced, at a virtual ceremony with sector leaders, colleagues, friends and family on March 23, 2021.