HUNDREDS of people tuned in to watch the South Wales Argus Health & Care Awards, held in association with t2 group, and applaud the heroic men and women who have been on the Covid-19 frontline during 2020.

The ceremony, broadcast online on the Argus Facebook page to keep everybody safe, featured a glittering array of household names from the worlds of sport, television, music and medicine.

Wales and British Lions rugby legend Sam Warburton, Gavin & Stacey star Joanna Page, Justin Hawkins of rock band The Darkness, GP and TV star Dr Hilary Jones, and doctor, broadcaster and comedian Dr Phil Hammond, all took time out from their busy schedules to deliver special words of praise for the finalists and winners.

After the year we’ve all had, it came as no surprise that the commitment, dedication, enthusiasm and inspiration shown by health and care workers in the face of coronavirus featured highly during the event.

This backdrop made it all the more fitting that the person honoured for his outstanding achievement to health and care in South East Wales in 2020 was Dr David Hepburn, who was also named ‘doctor of the year’.

The Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) and lead clinician at the Royal Gwent Hospital, who is now working at the Grange University Hospital at Llanfrechfa, was among the first people to suffer from coronavirus in the area in March.

He returned to the frontline soon afterwards and became the national face of Covid-19 through his efforts to spread the latest advice on combating the virus through interviews on television, in newspapers and direct to his 19,000-plus followers on social media.

Others honoured for their contributions to health and care in the area included long-serving nursing auxiliary Jenny Lewis, the winner of the ‘support staff of the year’ category, who was praised for her 41 years working in hospitals and hospices.

Clark Avenue Surgery in Pontnewydd was named GP Practice of the Year, the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust won the best innovation award for its use of digital technology, and the Memory Assessment Services and In Reach Team at Torfaen scooped the ‘Together We Achieve’ Award.

Claremont Court Care Home and Ty Ceirios Nursing Home’s TC Hub scheme earned them the ‘Innovative Care in the Care Home Sector’ accolade, and Marie Curie Information and Support Line Team was the Third Sector or Community Team of the Year.

Team of the Year was the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Post-Covid Rehabilitation Team.

The ‘Special Recognition Nursing Award’ went to Sarah Truman. Maxillo-facial specialist Lindsay White was ‘Surgeon of the Year’, and Kieran Blake’s work with the Welsh Ambulance Service earned him the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award.

Mayberry Pharmacy in Blackwood was Pharmacy of the Year, while Louise Howells took the Midwife of the Year accolade.

Rhys Tucker was named Paramedic or First Responder of the Year, and the Research Impact Award went to Professor Alka Ahuja and the CWTCH Team.

Editor of the South Wales Argus Gavin Thompson, said the fourth Health & Care Awards truly shone the spotlight on the “amazing work” carried out by teams and individuals, and he praised all the finalists and winners honoured at this year’s event for the compassion and care they demonstrate on a daily basis.

“It became very clear how much their work is appreciated by the sheer number of nominations we received from members of the public, colleagues and organisations,” he said.

“These nominations flooded in after the health and care sectors rose to the challenge of fighting the global pandemic.”

The ceremony’s host Dr Hilary Jones compared the South Wales Argus Health & Care Awards to the Emmy Awards in the world of television and emerging media, describing them as the ‘Pand-emmies’ in 2020.

“The nominees and winners in whichever discipline they work have done an outstanding job in unprecedented and highly challenging circumstances,” he said.

“You always work hard and go above and beyond, but this year a number of you have made even greater sacrifices and even taken personal risks.

"Every single one of you deserves recognition. I’m immensely proud to call you my colleagues.”

• Miss the South Wales Argus Health & Care Awards? Catch up now by visiting the South Wales Argus Facebook page at: [] Don't miss our special awards supplement, to be published in the South Wales Argus on January 7.