Paediatric Epilepsy Nurse Specialist, Rebecca Bedford, was in the company of royalty and A-Listers as she received the ‘Inspirational Nurse’ prize at the WellChild Awards on 30 June after being nominated by her peers.
Rebecca “Becky” Bedford was praised for her work in getting children back to school throughout the pandemic, lobbying at the highest levels of Government in changing policy for kids who needed AGP’s (Aerosol Generated Procedures).
Using social media to her advantage, Becky campaigned on behalf of concerned parents for youngsters on long-term ventilation who were being prevented from attending school.
She lobbied Parliament, and with the support of a swelling group of Twitter followers, won her case leading to a change of policy that allowed many school children to continue their education.
Speaking about the award, Becky said: “Although I knew I had been nominated, I did not expect to win as I know there have been many children’s nurses going above and beyond every day.
“I had been asked to nominate a celebrity who would be contacted to see if they would send a congratulatory video, but didn’t think much of it at the time!”
“Being a fan of Ed Sheeran, I thought I would ask but was not realistically anticipating anything, so I was genuinely shocked to see him on the day.”
“In fact, if my heels hadn’t sunk into the grass, I probably would have fallen over!”
It was a well-deserved award for Becky, who is now based at Bedford Hospital after a spell in Children’s Community Nursing, but the lives she has impacted for the better have made a huge difference to a number of families.
Her nominators said: “Becky has led a revolution to solve the issues that the Aerosol Generated Procedure rules have created in educational settings”, and has made already complicated lives much easier with her lobbying efforts.
The efforts involved writing an open letter to Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson and (now ex) Health Secretary, Matt Hancock to ask for clearer and more practical guidance.
The updated guidance allowed many families more flexibility for their children who experience a number of long-term conditions.
With the Duke of Sussex – who is a Patron of the WellChild Awards – spending some time with each individual winner, it was a special day for Becky and many others involved in paediatric healthcare.
WellChild UK continue to work with a number of young people and their families and you can read about all of the award winners here: https://www.wellchild.org.uk/awards/