A chief nurse and consultant respiratory physician have both been awarded MBE's in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List.

Tracey Carter, who has been a nurse for more than 30 years, and Dr Matthew Knight, both work at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and they have been recognised for their extraordinary efforts during and before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Knight, who conceived, designed, and delivered a ‘virtual hospital’ to look after patients infected with COVID-19, led a frontline team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and admin staff, some of whom were shielding, to safely prevent and reduce hospital admissions through the virtual monitoring of patients’ symptoms.

Patients were given a pulse oximeter to monitor their oxygen levels and heart rate at home and were reviewed virtually or on the phone.

Since March, more than 10,000 virtual consultations have taken place via the 'virtual hospital', delivering care to more than 1,250 patients.

It has prevented several hundred admissions and ensured patients felt safe and secure.

The virtual hospital is a 'first of its kind' model which can be expanded to cover other illnesses and conditions.

Borehamwood Times:

Dr Matthew Knight

Ms Carter joined West Hertfordshire Trust in 2014, and is highly regarded from ward to board by her peers and the wider nursing community for her leadership, empathy and passion for the job.

Her leadership has helped the trust to better recruit, retain and transform its nursing workforce helping to reduce the vacancy rate for junior nurses from more than 23 per cent to around 7 per cent.

She is very active in helping to identify and support the development of new roles to widen and transform the trust’s nursing workforce, and has championed the introduction of the role of nursing associates which enables healthcare support workers to gain a nursing qualification.

Ms Carter has put into place a major support programme for nurses and healthcare assistants, introducing leadership and management training for band six and seven nurses which has developed a leadership pipeline and improved retention.

New nurses and midwives are now supported in the first year of their role following qualification thanks to an active preceptorship programme launched by Tracey.

Borehamwood Times:

Chief Nurse Tracey Carter

Trust chief executive Christine Allen said: "I couldn’t be prouder as a CEO to see Tracey Carter and Matthew Knight recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

"They are the embodiment of our trust values of care, quality and commitment helping our teams to deliver exceptional standards of care to our patients. They are an inspiration to everyone who knows them.”

Trust chairman Phil Townsend added: "Congratulations to our colleagues. Countless patients will have benefitted over the years from the care, excellence and innovation which Tracey and Matthew have demonstrated.

"I am immensely proud of them both and delighted that their efforts have been recognised and rewarded in this way."

The publication of the Queen's Birthday 2020 Honours List was deferred from June this year to recognise to those involved in the response to the pandemic.