A specialist who helps stroke victims at Colchester Hospital has been nominated for a national award.

Lucy Clifton, who is an associate practitioner for speech and language therapy, has received a nomination for the Inspirational Clinical Support Worker of the Year.

She is one of just 12 finalists across four categories which feature healthcare workers from all over the UK.

Many patients struggle from physical and communication problems following strokes, and Mrs Clifton’s forward-thinking methods have been shown to help them recover more quickly.

She has been nominated by the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust as part of the Our Health Heroes awards, which are designed to champion unsung heroes in the care system.

The 43-year-old’s nomination comes following her efforts in helping patients learn how to swallow and communicate again after suffering a stroke.

In particular, Mrs Clifton uses music and movement to help energise and inspire her patients, encouraging them to tap their feet and sing along to their favourite tunes.

She joined Colchester Hospital in 2014 and has helped spearhead innovative developments, such as setting up a wellbeing room with expert advice from Colchester Hospital’s clinical psychologists.

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One of her colleagues, ward clerk Gemma Baldwin, mentioned how Mrs Clifton brings energy to the stroke unit.

She said: “Lucy is such a brilliant, kind and caring beautiful lady.

“The stroke unit at Colchester Hospital is a much better place with Lucy in it – the world definitely needs more Lucys.”

A fellow speech and language therapist, Elizabeth Bright, said it is the little things Mrs Clifton does which make the difference.

She said: “She has really helped everyone’s health and wellbeing – especially over the last year.

“Patients regularly send cards and messages of thanks, but I would love for Lucy to be recognised for the immense difference her little acts of kindness.”