Professor Mike Holmes, who leads York’s mass vaccination centre at Askham Bar, says The Press Community Pride Awards ceremony was an ‘uplifting evening’

IT’S been another week in which doctors’ surgeries and their teams have been in the spotlight. I spent Thursday morning at the Royal College of General Practitioners conference in Liverpool where I saw two sides to this particular coin. Firstly Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health, was ironically due to address the conference remotely but, in the end, withdrew – an interesting choice on the day the Government published their ‘support package’ for General Practice.

However, Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, did make it to Liverpool, making an 8 hour round trip to be there in person – where he unequivocally thanked General Practice for its contribution during the pandemic – his gratitude was genuine, audible and palpable. This felt so important from someone who has been an incredible constant during the last 18 months and his standing ovation was the least we could offer him and I was immensely proud to stand and applaud him.

Thursday was also marked by the York Press Community Pride Awards. This was such an uplifting evening where it was so good to see people from health and social care alongside some amazing individuals and young people being recognised.

General Practice was well represented – with Dr Chris Bennett being named as GP of the year and Old School Medical Practice, Copmanthorpe as Practice of the year. And Kirstie Vincer, lead nurse at Pickering Medical Practice, was named as healthcare hero of the year.

It’s thanks to everyone here in the York community that we have achieved so much in the last 18 months and I was very humbled to be recognised as Person of the Year. As I said on the night, this is such a team effort and I accepted this award on behalf of so many people. Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support. I would like to publically thank York Press for their support during the pandemic – without them we would not have been able to communicate with the population to the same extent.

We were so proud to see our youngest ever volunteer Mollie Ovenden pick up the Spirit of Youth Award for her work as a vaccination volunteer at Askham Bar. Our volunteers continue to be the true heroes of our services and as we approach the colder, darker days, their work becomes even more appreciated.

We’ve also expanded our babies and children’s clinics this week. These are now open from 2.30pm to 8.30pm Monday to Friday for 0-5-year-olds with breathing difficulties, bronchiolitis, croup and viral wheezing. You will need to contact your GP first to be referred, but please do ask them if this clinic could be appropriate.

The initial feedback we have had form the clinic has been really positive. Despite the headlines this week it has been heartening to receive really positive feedback from patients about the service they get from their Doctor’s surgery – we have been inundated and it really helps. We often only hear negative feedback but feeling the positive sentiments from patients and their relatives lifts morale hugely.

Another important service begins this week – the NHS Health Check service. This free health check service which people should have every five years, was paused during the pandemic.

Nimbuscare is pleased to be offering these free health checks, in partnership with Public Health, to York people. This service is for adults aged 40 to 74-year olds who do not have any pre-exiting conditions. It is designed to offer preventative advice and spot early signs of conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes and dementia.

To find out more about this visit

This health check quiz is also worth doing:

We know that as we get older, there is a higher risk of developing these conditions.

If you have been invited to have your health check, we look forward to seeing you at Askham Bar very soon.