A North Tyneside health visitor has won a top regional award after being nominated by families.
Judith Pringle, from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, won the Family Award at the 2012 NHS North East Health Visiting Awards for the support she gives mothers in Whitley Bay during their pregnancies and after they give birth.
Judges received more than 20 emails in support of Judith, with families paying tribute to her caring and compassionate nature. They detailed how she had helped them to stop smoking, to breast feed and to access local groups and activities.
Judith, who is based at Park Parade Surgery in Whitely Bay has been working in the community for 17 years.
She said: “I’m just so touched that local families took the time to nominate me for the award in the first place and to actually win the regional award was a complete surprise and a massive honour.
“It is a pleasure doing my job and I love being able to support people in the community at such an important time in their lives. To receive such great feedback and the award is absolutely fantastic and a real bonus.
“It is a team effort and I wouldn’t be able to do it without the help and support of colleagues.”
Judith had won the local heat of the awards earlier in the year. Many of her nominations were from mothers in the town’s Bangladeshi community. Shibli Islam, of Whitley Bay, had an extra special reason to do so. She said: “I had my baby after 17 years of trying and I am blessed with my daughter. I knew nothing about babies but Judith was my life saver. She advises me of what to do for my baby’s well being, she is just great and deserves the best.
“I have always heard good things about her from the community. I am a Bangladeshi lady who has limited English and I was quite apprehensive about how I would communicate with her but she is just so experienced working with people from different backgrounds there was no problem.”
Meanwhile Katherine Morris of Whitley Bay credited Judith’s support with helping her husband Jonah quit smoking before their child Oliver was born.
She said: “Judith gave my husband advice on different methods of quitting smoking and referred him to our local stop smoking service. She gave my husband the push he needed to stop smoking and has encouraged him to do so successfully.
“Having talked to other local mums I know that she provides an invaluable service for many people and deserves thanks and recognition for the fantastic work she does.”
Health visitors offer support and encouragement to families through the early years from pregnancy and birth, to primary school and beyond to support children to stay healthy and avoid illness.
They work with parents and carers to ensure that children have the best start in life and are able to achieve their full potential liaising with midwives, GPs and staff at children’s centres and community and voluntary services.
Northumbria Healthcare runs the health visiting service in North Tyneside and Northumberland.
The awards were presented by BBC Look North’s Carol Malia who said: “This is a wonderful celebration of the work our region’s health visitors deliver in our communities. It is essential we recognise their commitment to this important profession. I have been at the receiving end of this service and the treatment I received was excellent.”
A number of runners-up in the awards were also from the Trust. They were the Blyth Health Visiting Team (Team Innovation Award), Glenda Brown who is based in Dudley (Outstanding Individual Award) and Pauline Christenson (Life-time Achievement Award), who is based in North Shields.