An ‘outstanding’ senior healthcare assistant has been shortlisted for a national award for his work in the Royal Free London’s busy chemotherapy units.

Omprakash Beniwal has been shortlisted for an Apprentice of the Year award in Health Education England’s, Our Health Heroes Awards. The awards celebrate the unsung healthcare heroes from across the UK, who go above and beyond in their roles every day. 

The judges noted Omprakash is “completely dedicated to making his patients as comfortable as possible and going above and beyond to help them”.

The 36-year-old, who lives in Cheshunt, and who has worked at the Royal Free London for more than two years, first at Barnet Hospital and now at Chase Farm Hospital, now goes forward to the public vote, which will decide the national winners in five categories, to be revealed at the awards ceremony later in November.

Omprakash said: “I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received from my colleagues, managers and tutors. I want to use the skills I’ve gained to help patients when they are going through what is a really tough time in their lives.”

Mark Edwards, charge nurse at Chase Farm Hospital’s haematology and oncology unit, praised Omprakash for his care and courtesy. He said: “Many of our patients naturally have moments where they struggle emotionally with the psychological impact of cancer. Omprakash never presumes that it is not his responsibility to listen to them. He will pull up a chair and say what he can to make these moments a little better.

“He is always consistent with his personality and is highly professional. He manages to deliver what I would class as an appropriate sense of humour to his work which makes all our patients days a little brighter, and mine also. His precision to every task he performs is outstanding; from making tea for patients to assisting in bone marrow biopsies, Omprakash delivers quality.”

Sarah Lower, practice educator, said that Omprakash had made many positive organisational changes to the chemotherapy unit as a result of his learning on the nursing assistant apprenticeship programme. Omprakash is also currently studying for a diploma as an assistant practitioner.

She said: “Omprakash has formatted many electronic templates to allow some documentation to be universal for all health care professionals. One in particular which has been of tremendous benefit is the MRSA screening tool.  Omprakash assists at a bone marrow biopsy clinic in out-patients one morning a week. He organises the clinical slides and the equipment and also supports the patient during the procedure.”

Sarah added: “During the time I have supported Omprakash on the apprenticeship programme I have observed him work with integrity, compassion, competence and care. He deserves to be recognised for his service and progression on this programme.  

“Omprakash is also an ambassador for apprenticeships, at a recent conference he promoted the positive benefits of apprenticeships to recruiting NHS managers and potential apprentice applicants from the community and delivered a confident and moving presentation.”

John Rogers, chief executive at Skills for Health, said: “These 33 winners are outstanding in their field and are thoroughly deserving of their places in the shortlist. The calibre of nominations we received this year was sky high. Each and every one demonstrated excellence in patient care and our judges had a really difficult task in selecting a shortlist from such high-quality submissions.”
“We’re very much looking forward to meeting all the finalists in November and finding out the national winners” 

The panel of judges included representatives from Skills for Health and the National Skills Academy for Health as well as headline sponsors Health Education England, media partner National Health Executive and the Support Worker and Apprenticeship category sponsors, UNISON and The Open University.

The public vote for national winners of Operational Services Support Worker of the Year, Clinical Support Worker of the Year and to place the Apprentices of the Year will be open until 6 November. 

Go to  to vote now.