Vote now for “Incredible” St Raphael’s Hospice manager in running for national award

Categories: Care and People & Places.

A manager from St Raphael’s Hospice in Cheam is in the running for a prestigious national award. Paula di Palma, who stepped up to lead the housekeeping team when Covid struck, is a finalist in the 2024 Our Health Heroes Awards, delivered by Skills for Health.

Colleagues from the much-loved hospice, which provides vital end of life care for people living in Merton and Sutton, nominated Paula for going the extra mile for patients and volunteers and always making them feel special.

“She knows every patient, family member, volunteer and colleague on first name terms,” says St Raphael’s CEO Nick Stevens.

“She treats everyone the same, always with a smile and a genuine interest in who they are.”

“Paula is an incredible person. She creates special occasions for our patients and those important to them to meet their specific needs often at short notice. I feel privileged to be her colleague,” adds Ginny Toubal, Volunteer Services Lead.

Paula recently arranged a pizza party for a young patient whose family lived all around the world, as well as a last date night for an elderly couple the hospice was caring for.

Every year, Paula comes into the Hospice on Christmas Day to cook and give presents to patients and goes out of her way to celebrate special occasions such as patients’ birthdays.

“Working in a hospice can have its tough days, but Paula is ‘a ray of sunshine’ for everyone here.” says Róisín Yin-Poole, Wellbeing Services Lead

“She makes us all feel special in her own little way. I remember walking into my office on a cold and dark December morning last year to find a small fibre optic Christmas tree placed on my desk. It made me smile and feel so much warmth and straight away I knew it was Paula.

These are really small acts of kindness, but they make a huge difference and help to make the Hospice feel like a special place to be.

To show support for Paula and vote for her to win the award, votes can be cast here until 11 March 2024:

The Skills for Health Our Health Heroes Awards is sponsored by NHS England, NHS Employers, NHS Shared Business Services and more. Gold, silver and bronze Operational Support Worker of the Year award winners will be announced at a special ceremony held in London on 16th April.


About St Raphael’s Hospice:

St Raphael’s Hospice is an independent charity providing free adult palliative and end of life care services for all who need it in Merton and Sutton, and offers support to families, carers and friends.

The Hospice cares for around 1,000 patients every year in its 13 bed In-Patient Unit (IPU)and in the community in patients homes. The majority of St Raphael’s patients are cared for at home and Hospice staff work alongside community healthcare professionals such as GPs and District Nurses, offering guidance, specialist support and advice as needs arise.

St Raphael’s expert team is made up of clinicians including doctors, nurses, and their associates, counsellors, therapists and a social worker who all work together to provide vital care.

The Hospice also provides counselling and bereavement services to support patients and those important to them. Its Wellbeing Centre is open to everyone living in Merton and Sutton who are over 18 and are closely affected by someone with a progressive life-limiting illness.

St Raphael’s is proud to have been at the heart of the community since 1987. For more information, please visit

About Skills for Health Our Health Heroes Awards:

Skills for Health have been championing the voices of the UK healthcare workforce since 2002. As the Sector Skills Council for Health, we have collaborated with thousands of NHS and healthcare providers to develop solutions that improve skills, jobs, and roles to achieve better patient outcomes.

Our Health Heroes was created to champion real people, who are at the heart of our healthcare system. Now more than ever we need to celebrate and say ‘thank you’ to the thousands of unsung heroes up and down the country.

Now in its eighth year, we can’t wait to welcome some of the incredible shining stars of the health and care sector to a glittering awards ceremony at the QEII Centre in London as we reveal the winners of the Our Health Heroes Awards 2024.

Our Health Heroes Awards 2024 is supported by NHS England, NHS Employers, NHS Shared Business Services, NHS Race & Health Observatory and more.

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