HEALTH officials are celebrating after picking up a top national honour for their efforts in working with patients.
Easington Monitory and Advisory Board was named runner-up in the Acorn Award for patient engagement in a national contest run by the NHS Alliance.
The alliance is a national body that represents the interests of GPs and others involved in community health.
The monitoring and advisory Group consists of representatives of GP Forums in east Durham, along with other community stakeholders.
It advises the Easington Clinical Commissioning Group on health issues in the area, and discusses commissioning intentions with them.
The board had to show it had a robust policy in place to engage members of the public and hard-to-reach groups, including Durham Deafened Support.
Julie Ross, of the North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA), said the competition was tough.
The announcement was made at a gala dinner in Manchester attended by senior NHS figures from across the UK.
Chairman of the Easington Clinical Commissioning Group, Joseph Chandy, said: “This really is very positive for Easington to receive national recognition for the work we are doing.”
Chair of the monitory and advisory board, Malcolm Fallow, who is also East Durham Trust chairman, said: “It is really pleasing that the efforts of volunteers have been recognised.”
Board vice-chairman David Taylor-Gooby added: “This will help us ensure that the people of Easington are listened to in the new NHS arrangements.”
The board, which has been running for around five years, will continue its role when the Government’s NHS reforms to introduce GP consortia are pushed through.
Mr Taylor-Gooby said there are plans to for a Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield consortium when the traditional role of the primary care trust is abolished under the plans.