Press release: Hospital trust media specialist wins south of England health award

MW award

A member of staff at Southampton’s university hospitals is set to receive a prestigious regional health award for his work in media and communications – and is now in a public vote for the national title.

Matthew Watts, head of news at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, has been named Our Health Heroes Awards 2018 operational services support worker of the year for the south of England.

The award recognises the contribution operational support workers – including finance, maintenance, catering, IT, cleaning, administrative, communications and security staff – make to the health sector to help deliver high quality healthcare practices.

He will now compete against seven other regional winners from across the UK in a public vote which runs until 8 November, with the result announced at a ceremony at London’s OXO Tower on 23 November.

During his first year, Matthew raised positive national media coverage of the trust by 385% and, in 2017, the UHS press office handled more than 2,000 enquiries and recorded 2,450 items of coverage (90% positive) which reached an audience of more than 200 million people.

He was influential in the development of the BAFTA award-winning One Born Every Minute maternity documentary, securing the first two series at the Princess Anne Hospital, and led discussions on Channel 4’s acclaimed My Baby’s Life: Who Decides?

He has also broken significant national stories including the world’s smallest pacemaker, the UK’s first isolation treatment for liver cancer, a world-first children’s type 2 diabetes implant and the country’s first stem cell brain injection.

As part of the award, Jacqui Thornton, formerly of The Sun and The Sunday Telegraph, lead lecturer for health and science journalism at City University and founder of Jacqui Thornton Communications, described the UHS press office as “unrivalled not only within the NHS but across the public sector”.

“It is a great honour to receive an award for carrying out a job I am so passionate about and it is testament to the quality of the staff I have had the pleasure of working with across the organisation that I have been able to promote so many positive developments over the years,” said Matthew.

The judging panel included representatives from Skills for Health, the National Skills Academy for Health and Health Education England.

John Rogers, chief executive of Skills for Health, said: “For the third year running I’ve been taken aback by the number of nominations we have received for the Our Health Heroes Awards.

“All of our finalists are outstanding in their field and are thoroughly deserving of their places on the shortlist. I’m very much looking forward to meeting all the finalists in November and celebrating the national winners.”

To register your vote, visit

Posted on Monday 29 October 2018