National charity the ‘Hospital Broadcasting Association’ brought its annual conference and awards to Winchester for the very first time.

Talking all things radio and wellbeing the awards were attended by many radio broadcasters, volunteers and guests.

The Hospital Broadcasting Association works to promote and assist hospital, health and wellbeing radio stations all across the UK with over 160 individual station members.

One such member is Winchester Radio Station, providing a volunteer-led hospital radio service for both patients and staff in Royal Hampshire County Hospital for nearly 40 years.

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The theme of the conference; ‘Future proofing Hospital Health and wellbeing broadcasting in an evolving NHS’ highlighted the changes that have arisen in the NHS and the hard work being done by volunteers to continue to keep patients engaged in the community.

The HBA was pleased to welcome guests Julie Dawes, chief nurse at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, alongside MP Steve Brine, chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, as two keynote speakers.

Ms Dawes has worked as a nurse for 43 years and has dedicated herself to upholding high standards of patient care. During the conference, she was given the opportunity to address ‘The value of hospital radio, and the changing challenges, demands and opportunities facing hospitals.’ to delegates.

She said: “As a nurse for over four decades, it was a delight to be invited to attend this national HBA conference and speak to the volunteers about the evolving NHS and just how much what they do at hospital radio benefits people’s health and wellbeing, and supports the NHS. Despite much of the transformation and change in the NHS over the years, the core values of caring for our patients in the best way possible remains unchanged.”

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MP Steve Brine is not only the current chair of the Health and social Care committee but also, a student, volunteered for his local hospital radio in Guildford.

Mr Brine has also had connections with the Winchester radio team since 2008 and so was fit to share with delegates his first hand experience of the positive outcomes Hospital radio stations provide and their impact in supporting the prevention agenda.

He said: "I loved my time volunteering at hospital radio and am a huge fan of Winchester Radio. The whole bringing together of hospital and community broadcasting with the health and wellbeing agenda makes so much sense. It was a privilege to deliver a keynote at the conference."

Five of the volunteers at charity Winchester Radio were involved in supporting the conference in Winchester this year – helping the national conference team with planning, technical support on the day, and/or delivering some of the training session Talks to delegates.

The chair of Winchester Radio Anna O’Brien said: “We were really excited to be able to help HBA bring this year’s Conference to Winchester, and so pleased it was held at our neighbour – the University of Winchester. The annual conference is always a wonderful opportunity for volunteers involved in hospital, health and wellbeing radio stations to come together and share ideas on how best we can serve our communities. And it was absolutely fantastic to have Julie Dawes and Steve Brine attend to give such engaging, knowledgeable and inspiring keynote speeches.”