NHS workers across Sussex have been recognised for their efforts in a prestigious awards ceremony.

Eight projects in the county have won categories in the annual NHS Best of Health Awards for the South East.

The awards covered 12 categories ranging from professional of the year to unsung hero and dignity in care.

The aim is to acknowledge and reward the hard work and services being provided by staff in NHS and social care organisations in Sussex, Kent and Surrey.

The winners were announced at a ceremony this week at the Brighton Centre which featured TV personality Claudia Winkleman.

The Sussex winners included the link-up peer support project run by the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust in Brighton, which was given the Mental Health and Wellbeing Award.

As part of the project, Teen2Teen unites groups of teenagers who are experiencing the same significant mental health difficulties such as suicidal tendencies, self-harm, depression and eating disorders.

It gives them the chance to talk confidentially about the issues they are facing with other young people.

Link-up also has a as set up a database of young mental health patients and their carers who are willing to offer support to others.

The Bariatric Service at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester won the Dignity in Care Award.

This provides understanding and compassion for morbidly obese patients at every stage of their treatment and care.

The team understands and appreciates the high risks involved, as well as the fears, low self esteem, loss of dignity, physical limitations and emotional instability of the patients.

The staff ensure the environment is geared to meet the needs of their patients, with appropriate equipment, from beds, chairs and wheelchairs to smaller items such as blood pressure cuffs and theatre gowns.

The other winners are: Improving Access - Howard 1 Oncology Ward, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.

Improving Health and Reducing Inequalities - Guild Care Healthy Living Centre, Worthing.

Innovative ICT ñ the telemedicine team at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

Leadership for Improvement - Sheraz Daya, Queen Victoria Hospital.

Safety in Care - patient safety team, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Success in Partnership ñ the partnership for older people project team, West Sussex County Council.

The winners will now go forward to compete in the national Health and Social care awards this summer.

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