A female nurse wearing scrubs in a hospital setting puts on a pair of latex gloves

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation

Inspirational levels of compassion are shown every day by people working across Hampshire Hospitals. By recognising and sharing thousands of these uplifting stories, The WOW! Awards has helped to boost morale and build an exceptional culture of care.


Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust employs 6,000 staff, serving over half a million people living in the surrounding area.

Colleagues across the three hospitals work hard to provide outstanding care. They are encouraged and challenged to achieve this by acting with compassion, responsibility and respect.

The Trust is managed by a board of directors, led by a Chair and Chief Executive, who have been huge supporters of The WOW! Awards.

The challenge

Looking after Hampshire Hospital Trust’s patients and their families comes with constant challenges. In almost equal measure, talented and caring colleagues rise to these challenges with great compassion.

Yet, ten years ago the hospitals faced a staff morale problem. Legalities around patient care demanded that clear processes were set out to handle complaints or bad outcomes. No such channels existed to capture the good news stories; stories that would support a positive workplace culture.

Although management had confidence in the abilities of its people, positive news was sorely lacking from the chain of communication. For the benefit of everyone delivering or relying upon their care, things clearly needed to improve.

The approach

The Trust launched The WOW! Awards in the hope of building a more positive environment.

Evidence of the relationship challenge was seen in a slow rate of early award nominations. Senior leaders believed the idea had potential, so took some simple steps to get things moving. Visiting the hospitals to present the awards in person was the first big step in breaking down those barriers.

The WOW! Awards have increasingly become a high profile celebration visible to staff and patients. As this has embedded in the team culture, winners are now invited to a quarterly lunch to celebrate their efforts.

The theme of many patient nominations is that of turning the worst of times into good experiences thanks to the inspiring efforts of the NHS staff. In a very personal and meaningful way, The WOW! Award nominations shine a light on the incredible efforts of people across the hospitals.

My words can’t explain and do not fully justify, the high standard of care that they provided. They turned for me, the worst time of my life quickly around. Thank you so much!

Hampshire Hospitals Patient

WOW! Award Nomination

The outcome

Relationships at all levels have been truly transformed, across departments and through seniority levels. Surprise visits from board members now receive a warm welcome.

The Hampshire Hospital Trust team now describes a culture of family. Recently, colleagues’ children also received WOW! Award certificates, thanking them for their support during the COVID pandemic.

Hundreds of patient and visitor nominations are received every month. They contain stories of true human connection; compassion shown in caring for patients facing the toughest circumstances, kindness given to long-suffering family members, even a cup of tea offered at the perfect moment. Colleagues learn of thousands of seemingly small touches that have a huge significance to patients and their loved ones. ‘Above-and-beyond’ is seemingly just part of the day job.

Steve Erskine, Chair of Hampshire Hospitals Trust explains how people cherish the nominations they receive:

“The WOW! Awards are a great way to recognise the achievements of our staff and it means so much to people that the nominations come from patients, their families and colleagues.”

The results

Thousands of lives are touched by the compassion and care shown by unsung heroes across the NHS every day. The WOW! Awards has played an important role in uncovering many of these stories for Hampshire Hospitals, showing recognition where it is greatly deserved.

Nearly 30,000 nominations have been received by hospital colleagues since The WOW! Awards launched in 2009. This has become a treasure trove of stories detailing inspiring acts of compassion and kindness.

An internal colleague to colleague nomination explains it best:
“This shows how important every single person is and how a positive culture of caring can be developed and sustained across the Trust. When staff are valued, patients benefit.”

We can never thank the Shawford Ward team enough for making such a difficult situation memorable for all the right reasons. However, if they were given an award as a result of this nomination, it might go a little way towards showing our appreciation.

Hampshire Hospitals Visitor

WOW! Award Nomination