Doctor and cancer nurse recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours list

Dr Tom Wells

Dr Tom Wells. - Credit: UHBW

A doctor at Weston General Hospital and a cancer nurse have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.  

Tom Wells, who works for University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) as a medical oncology consultant, has been awarded and MBE for his services to medicine and people with disabilities in the medical profession.  

Tom, who lives in Portishead, was paralysed from the chest down after a winter sports accident in 1992. He was also unable to speak for a year to a windpipe narrowing after a complication with the placement of a tracheostomy.  

However, Tom was determined to return to medical school and four years later he qualified as a doctor.  

Since then, Tom has gone on to co-found the disability course at Bristol Medical School and has given presentations to medical students about his unique perspective of disability as both a clinician and a patient.   

More: Weston couple awarded British Empire Medal for supporting others in pandemic.

He has also taken part in the Royal College of Physicians This Doctors Can campaign and written a book about his experience, called Behind the Curtains.  

Tom said: “Receiving this award acts as real encouragement to continuing doing what I’m doing, and I’m intent on using my situation to challenge attitudes and help educate people around disability in medicine, showing what’s possible. 

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"It was such a pleasant surprise to receive this recognition, I feel honoured and I am very grateful to my wife and daughter for all of their support over the years.” 

A lead cancer nurse for UHBW was also awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM). Ruth, who has worked at the trust for over 30 years, has received her BEM in recognition for her services to people living with and affected by cancer. 

In her role as lead cancer nurse, Ruth has been instrumental in leading the development, implementation and securing the long term sustainability of these services for cancer patients across the trust's hospitals. 

This includes initiatives such as the recent establishment of cancer ‘Personalised Care and Support’ services - including health and wellbeing events and holistic needs assessments for people with cancer - which help people to maximise their health and wellbeing and provide holistic care and support for people living with and beyond their cancer diagnosis, alongside their clinical care. 

Ruth said: “I feel so humbled to have been acknowledged in this way. I’ve worked with so many wonderful, dedicated and enthusiastic people, in cancer services, over 34 years at the trust. 

"I really feel this award should be seen as recognition of all we have achieved together, for people affected by cancer in Bristol and across the region. We’re not done yet though, there is still more to do.” 

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