University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

UHD matron recognised in Queen's birthday honours

A matron at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her tireless work to support her colleagues and community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minnie Klepacz

Minnie Klepacz, matron for ophthalmology, leads the hospital's BAME network and drove the trust’s response to provide risk assessments for all BAME staff. She also created a wellbeing hub for her staff to relax and take time out in. 

While doing all of this, as well as her day-to-day matron duties, she also provided exceptional support to the Filipino community outside work, cooking meals for colleagues who were recovering after being in intensive care, helping others move house and organising virtual community events to offer comfort and reassurance.

Minnie said she felt "truly humbled" to be recognised. “I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d get an award. I feel so privileged and honoured.

"When I saw an email from the Cabinet Office I was so worried and thought I’d done something wrong. I plucked up the courage to read it again and responded asking if it was a spam email because I just couldn’t believe it. They told me it was true and then rang me to reassure me, I couldn’t believe it," she said.

Minnie has worked for the hospital for 19 years having arrived to work here from the Philippines as a teenager. 

“This award is not just for me, it’s for everyone who works here and goes above and beyond. As a Filipino, I’d also like to share this award with all staff from a BAME background.

“I’m truly humbled to work with amazing colleagues. They inspire me and give me confidence."

Minnie, who lost 11 friends to Covid-19, added: “Covid was really challenging, and most hospital staff affected by it came from a BAME background. I had my own worries but I had to put that aside and think, how can I support people, what act of kindness and humanity can I provide. If people need help, then I’ll help them. 

“I’m going to send my medal home to the Philippines. Growing up, my mum always used to display all our awards prominently in the lounge as she was so proud of us all. As I can’t visit my family right now, it’s only right they have my medal.”

Publication of the honours list was postponed in June so those who played crucial roles in the pandemic could be added.

 

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