A heart doctor, GP for the homeless, and tireless paediatric specialist up for Who Cares Wins Award

DOCTORS are the beating heart of our NHS, but the finalists in our Doctor of the Year category blew us away with the lengths they go to for their patients.

When we launched The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards this year, sponsored by the National Lottery and in partnership with NHS Charities Together, we had no idea how many nominations we would receive for truly incredible doctors.

Meet our finalists for Best Doctor at our 2023 Sun Health Awards


Meet our finalists for Best Doctor at our 2023 Sun Health Awards

Our three finalists include a family doctor who runs a practice for the homeless, a doctor who struggled to assemble a team to save a young mother’s life after her heart failed, and a pediatrician who helped a little girl To live a life their parents didn’t dare to dream.

The winner will be honored at a star-studded awards ceremony hosted by Davina McCall and shown on Channel 4 and All 4 on September 24th.

Here are our Best Doctor nominees…


Nominated as best doctor: Dr. Steven Shaw, who saved the life of mother-of-two Amber Hughes


Nominated as best doctor: Dr. Steven Shaw, who saved the life of mother-of-two Amber HughesPhoto credit: PP.

With her youngest child just a few months old, Amber Hughes attributed her exhaustion to being a busy mother of two.

But after collapsing at home last July, she was rushed to hospital where she was diagnosed with multi-organ failure due to cardiogenic shock – the heart muscle was severely damaged and can no longer pump blood throughout the body.

Amber, 29, from Wrexham, was minutes from death when she arrived at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester.

But thanks to Dr. Steven Shaw was well enough to be released from the hospital and home to her young children just a month later, after directing a team of doctors to save Amber’s life and fit her with an artificial heart.

Amber, mother of Elliot, three, and Eva, 17 months, said: “I didn’t know it at the time, but my heart muscles were dying, so all my other organs – my kidneys, liver and lungs – were failing too.”

The young mother immediately underwent open-heart surgery, where she became so unwell that Dr. Shaw and his team left her chest open for two days while they stabilized her.

Dr. Shaw said: “What Amber has been through is incredibly upsetting; She was about as bad as it gets.

“What happened was extremely rare and she is very lucky to have survived.

“She had less than a 50 percent chance of survival and we had to hold our nerve and wait to see whether she would recover on her own after the operation.”

Amber was sedated for 13 days after her surgery and Dr. Shaw was there when she woke up.

He said: “We tried to get her out of the sedation but she was incredibly confused and upset.

“She had the artificial heart tubes coming out and she was understandably distraught.

“It took a lot of time and education to calm them down and tell them what happened.”

Although Amber was prepared for multiple organ transplants, including a heart, liver, lung and kidney, she was miraculously released from the hospital a month after she almost died.

Amber said: “Without Dr. Shaw, I simply wouldn’t be here.

“He held his nerve, was responsible for all my treatment and surgical decisions, and gave her family a mother back.

“I will never be able to thank him for giving me my life back. He was tireless in his efforts.”

Dr. Shaw added: “After everything Amber has been through, it’s really special that she’s even thinking about being nominated, but I’m just part of a team.

“Many of us came together to try to save her – from her surgeons to her physical therapists, everyone made sure Amber could come home to her children.”


Dr. Nicola Cable (left) was nominated by Evie and her mother Kerry for the Sun Who Cares Wins Award in the Best Doctor category


Dr. Nicola Cable (left) was nominated by Evie and her mother Kerry for the Sun Who Cares Wins Award in the Best Doctor categoryPhoto credit: Dave Nelson

Seconds after Kerry Coles was born, her baby girl stopped breathing and doctors declared her brain dead.

Baby Evie was put on a life support machine so desperate parents Kerry, 40, and Jack, 29, could say goodbye.

But thanks to the heroic efforts of Dr. Nicola Cable, Evie is now a thriving three-year-old.

Evie was born in January 2020 with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, meaning she suffered from a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Incredibly, Evie defied expectations and began breathing on her own, but her condition meant she was not expected to reach typical milestones and even had difficulty standing and sitting.

But thanks to Dr. Cable’s determination to help Evie reach her potential and three years of hard work, she was finally released from her care and is a happy and healthy little girl.

Kerry, from Blackpool, said: “Dr. Cable never once stopped pushing.

“Not once did she say to us, ‘It’s as good as it gets.’ She was so determined to do her best with Evie.

“She is an incredible doctor and Evie definitely wouldn’t be where she is without her.”

Evie was just four weeks old when the family Dr. Cable met and the hard work began to make her better.

Kerry added: “Evie was so unwell that we thought we would lose her several times when she was little, but luckily she has recovered.”

Although little Evie couldn’t sit, she also failed many medical exams such as cognitive and coordination tests and missed milestones, but Dr. Cable was determined to make Evie’s journey as successful as possible.

Kerry said: “There were so many appointments but Dr. Cable was there every step of the way.

“She gave Evie a special medical chair with a reinforced backrest for her torso.

“She had the idea to help Evie with splints and a standing frame when she couldn’t stand.

“Evie had such a tough first year, but Dr. Cable was so determined.”

Dr. Cable, head of pediatrics at Blenheim House Child Development Center in Blackpool, is so impressive that she has received two nominations – both from Kerry and her colleague, specialist nurse Angela Richardson.

Angela said, “Dr. Cable really is one in a million.

“She works tirelessly and tirelessly, devoting much of her free time to keeping the child development center running.”

Despite her tireless work, Dr. Cable stunned by double nomination.

She said: “I can’t believe it. I love my job. It can be difficult, but it is also incredibly rewarding.

“But Evie is the perfect example of what a child can achieve when given clinical support.

“It brings tears to your eyes.

“My job is to help children reach their developmental potential, whatever that is.

“When you see a child begin to communicate without words, it is an incredible feeling.

“When a child who has never picked up a toy before starts to get involved with it, that’s wonderful.”


Nominated as the best doctor, Dr. Mike Taylor helps homeless people as a general practitioner in the community


Nominated as the best doctor, Dr. Mike Taylor helps homeless people as a general practitioner in the communityPhoto credit: Adrian Sherratt

When he was growing up, Dr. Mike Taylor talks about becoming a GP, but his working days are anything but ordinary.

He runs one of the UK’s few practices dedicated to homeless people and looks after more than 600 patients at the Homeless Health Service in Stokes Croft, Bristol.

Despite specific NHS legislation, it is very difficult for homeless people to register with regular GP practices.

The vast majority are unregistered, although the life expectancy of those living on the streets is only 45 years for men and 43 years for women.

But all homeless patients are in Dr. Taylor’s practice is welcoming and he has helped improve the lives of hundreds of them.

Dr. Taylor, who has been a GP for 35 years, said: “Study after study shows the richer you are, the better the treatment, and the poorer you are, the worse the outcomes – that shouldn’t be the case.”

“The poorest in society need the most help and health inequalities in this country must change.

“Many of our patients were born to mothers addicted to drugs or alcohol.

“Many more suffer from epilepsy, brain injuries, ADHD or Asperger’s or have cognitive impairment due to alcohol addiction.

“They are often mentally unable to keep appointments or remember to take medication.

“That’s why all of our clinics are on-site and do not require an appointment.

“We can’t always lift the patients we treat out of addiction, and it would be foolish to think we can, but it’s about making their journey a little better.

“They need to know that there are people who really care about them and will continue to work with them.

“If we can get homeless sex workers to get a smear test, we’ll be happy.

“If we can get patients with leg ulcers to have their dressings changed, that’s a step in the right direction.”

When the program began six years ago, there were 60 patients enrolled – but thanks to the hard work of Dr. Taylor now cares for more than 600 homeless people.

He was nominated by practice manager Dixine Douis, 59, who says her workload is comparable to no other practice in the country.

Dixine said: “There are so many barriers and hurdles to homeless people accessing appropriate healthcare.

“It wasn’t easy, but Mike was crucial.

“The Homeless Health Service now has a podiatrist, dental hygienist, nutritionist and counseling service.

“This work would not have been possible without Mike’s leadership and commitment to the cause.”

Dr. Taylor, 62, added: “It’s about showing respect and dignity to our patients; the feeling that their lives matter.

“Every day I try to help patients understand that recovery is an option and that there is hope, no matter how faint and elusive.

“Our patients are valued and deserve as much health and social care as any other person.

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“I always wanted to be a GP in the community.

“I’m so glad I work with homeless people and I’m so lucky to work with such a wonderful team.”

Aila Slisco

Aila Slisco is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Aila Slisco joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: ailaslisco@dailynationtoday.com.

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