Publish date: 20 October 2021

The shortlist for this year’s Greater Manchester Health and Care Champion Awards have been announced, and the Trust’s Mortuary team has been recognised for outstanding work over the past 18 months as one of the few bereavement centres in the region that continued to operate as near to normal as possible through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The GM Champion Awards are the only region-wide awards to recognise those people and teams who regularly go the extra mile to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Greater Manchester.

As part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic many mortuaries restricted or stopped viewings of deceased family members; however, Mortuary and Bereavement Manager, Andy Armstrong and his team were keen to ensure every effort was made to keep the service going. As a result, in early 2021 the Trust reinstated visits and it was clear to see what that meant to grieving families. That dedication and commitment from the team has shortlisted them for a coveted innovation award.

“Looking after our families is one of the most important parts of our job” explains Andy. “We know how daunting it can be for family members to come here and see their loved one and it’s a big part of our role to ensure that they feel comfortable, at ease, and to take as much of that anxiety away as possible. We want families to go away from here knowing that their loved one is in good hands.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “I am pleased to support these Health and Care Champion Awards. They are even more special this year, as we are able to recognise everyone who has gone above and beyond during the pandemic. The last 18 months have been an incredibly hard and challenging time, especially for those working on the frontline in health and social care and those volunteering in their communities. Congratulations to the Mortuary team who have been shortlisted for playing a vital role in improving the lives and outcomes of people across Tameside and Glossop.”

Trust Chief Executive, Karen James OBE added: “I am incredibly proud of the team for the sensitive way it provides services not only for our hospital, but for Stepping Hill Hospital and community services across Tameside, Stockport and Trafford too. And to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award by a panel made up of representatives from across all public services and patient representatives makes it even more special.”

The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony in November.