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RNIB ECLO wins Bart’s Health Hero Award

Sam Kalla has been recognised for the emotional and practical support he offers to patients at Whipps Cross Hospital

 Cordelia McKechnie, Sam Kalla and managing director at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Charles Knight

A Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) eye clinic liaison officer (ECLO) has won a Bart’s Health Hero Award in recognition of the support and advice he offers to patients.

Sam Kalla helps patients at Whipps Cross Hospital in London to understand the impact of their diagnosis and also provides emotional and practical support.

Speaking about the impact of living with sight loss, Mr Kalla said: “It takes a few seconds to be diagnosed with sight loss, but a lifetime putting it right.”

“I hope my award will encourage more hospital eye clinics to invest in the ECLO service so that across the country we can ensure individuals who experience sight loss are provided with the highest quality of support and care throughout their journey,” he added.

The Bart’s Health Hero Award recognises staff who go above and beyond for patients and colleagues.

Whipps Cross Hospital consultant, Cordelia McKechnie, who nominated Mr Kalla for the award, said that patients often enter a state of shock after they have been diagnosed with sight loss and Mr Kalla shows them the “upmost respect” when supporting them through the process. 

“Sam is a kind and gentle person who always puts the patient at the centre. He is happy to help anyone at any time and our patients greatly appreciate the support he gives them. He will do anything at the drop of a hat and deserves to be thoroughly commended for the work he does,” Ms McKechnie shared. 

The RNIB’s UK lead for eye clinic support services, Carolyn Chamberlain, added that the institute is delighted that Mr Kalla has received this accolade. 

“Sam is a great example of how hard our ECLO’s work and the difference they make to people of all ages affected by sight loss including relatives and carers,” she noted. 

Image caption (left to right): Alwen Williams, CEO of Barts Health NHS Trust, Sam Kalla and managing director at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Charles Knight