Two Eastbourne NHS staff members invited to Buckingham Palace

NHS heroes from Sussex, including two from Eastbourne, joined The Duke of Cambridge for a ‘big tea’ at Buckingham Palace as thousands held their own events to say thank you to the NHS.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 11:25 am

Six healthcare workers from NHS Trusts across Sussex were part of a group of NHS staff who got the chance to attend a special ‘big tea’ on the birthday of the NHS at Buckingham Palace on Monday, July 5, as a thank you for their work tackling the covid pandemic.

The event in the Palace gardens, on the same day the Queen awarded the George Cross to the NHS, was also attended by Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England.

It took place alongside thousands of NHS big teas hosted across the country either virtually or following the latest Covid-19 guidance in back gardens, schools, hospitals and community settings to show thanks for the people who have been there for us all during the pandemic.

Left to right: Ian Puttock, Michelle Butler and Amber Perrin outside Buckingham Palace. SUS-210607-111115001

Eastbourne woman Michelle Butler, who is a specialist behaviour support practitioner at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said, “It is an amazing opportunity to be invited to attend the NHS big tea event at Buckingham Palace alongside colleagues from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

“I have supported people with learning disabilities for 22 years and they are some of those most impacted by the pandemic, facing the complete disruption of their support networks and the challenge of understanding changing covid restrictions.

“Last year, supported by our NHS trust charity Heads On, we put together over 600 mental health isolation boxes, which were delivered across Sussex and Hampshire to adults and children using mental health services, women’s refuges, young offenders, older people with dementia and people with learning disabilities.

“The packs contained a wealth of distraction activities to support people facing the challenges of lockdown and to show them that someone was thinking of them at a time when people were feeling incredibly isolated and often frightened.

“I am extremely privileged to work among an amazing team of people and it means such a lot to us all that the public are so supportive of the NHS big tea events across the country.”

Fellow Eastbourne woman Soumya Sononey was also in attendance representing East Sussex Healthcare Trust.

The staff nurse contributed to the ESHT Project, being one of the key storytellers and worked with sharing her story with the national organisation NHS Charities Together.

Many celebrities, led by the England men’s football team at Euro 2020, have also shown their support for the day.

NHS Charities Together has so far allocated £125 million for a range of projects supporting staff, patients, and volunteers, working with its 240 NHS member charities covering the UK.

Projects funded in Sussex by Heads On and East Sussex Healthcare Trust Charity include therapeutic support for mental health inpatients during national lockdowns, staff care packages, digital art projects for people with mental health problems, research into how people from ethnic minority communities experience mental health services, trauma support for staff and developing an app for deaf patients.