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Unsung Covid heroes head up Queen’s Birthday Honours list

Porter gets a gong

16 October, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Terry Allen has been at UCLH for 17 years

A HOSPITAL porter was among a string of unsung pandemic heroes to be recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Terry Allen, who has worked at University College Hospital for 17 years, was given a British Empire Medal for services to the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis.

The 63-year-old’s day job includes transferring suspected Covid patients admitted at the Euston hospital’s Accident and Emergency department for diagnosis.

Mr Allen said: “This job is really frontline, front of house and that’s what I like about it.”

He added that his phone “hasn’t stopped ringing” since the honours list was made public this week, adding: “I’ve taken some ribbing. I knew I had been nominated and thought ‘that’s nice’ but didn’t think anything would come of it.”

Mr Allen is employed by UCLH contractor Interserve, which runs security and portering at the hospital. Four UCLH Interserve workers died with Covid during the first wave.

Royal Free Hospital governor Linda Davies has been made an MBE for services to education and the NHS in north London. She has also served as the chair of governors at New End School in Hampstead for 12 years.

Linda Davies

She said of the Royal Free: “The staff and management have been under enormous pressure because of the coronavirus pandemic but they have risen to the challenge magnificently.”

At the Whittington, Jessica Horne, head of respiratory physiotherapy at the Highgate hospital, also received a BEM for services to the NHS during Covid-19. Great Ormond Street’s feeding disorder nurse Una McCann was recognised for services to nursing.  Ann Hannah also received a British Empire Medal for her Covid work at the Health Services Laboratory – a joint venture company set up by UCLH and the Royal Free that has tested patient Covid samples – as did Dr Rachael Dorothy Devlin, HSL’s medical director.

A string of academics at UCL were awarded with gongs including engineer Professor Tim Baker, who headed the UCL Ventura project that developed the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). The CPAP, first trialled at University College Hospital, was extensively used to help patients with serious problems around the country.

Professor Baker said: “I am proud to have worked alongside staff from the NHS in the response to Covid, and I am honoured to represent the entire team in receiving this award.”

UCL’s Professor Sarah Walker, who heads a clinical trials unit in UCL, received an OBE for services to academia and the Covid-19 response.

Other UCL academic recognition included OBEs for Professor Imran Rasul for services to social sciences, Professor Sally Grantham-McGregor for services to early childhood development and Professor Sophie Scott for services to neuroscience; and knighthoods for Professor Geoff Mulgan for services to the creative economy and Professor Richard Catlow for services to leadership and science research.

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