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West Herts Hospitals NHS staff recognised in Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours

Posted: 12 October 2020

Picture of Tracey Carter and Dr Matthew Knight MBE

Chief nurse Tracey Carter and consultant respiratory physician Dr Matthew Knight have both been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List.

The publication of the Queen's Birthday 2020 Honours List was deferred from June this year to recognise the extraordinary efforts of those involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One such individual includes West Herts’ respiratory consultant Dr Matthew Knight who conceived, designed, and delivered a ‘virtual hospital’ to look after patients infected with COVID-19.

Dr Knight 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 2020 over 10,000 virtual consultations have taken place via the ‘virtual hospital’ which has delivered outstanding care to over 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.

A nurse for over 30 years, chief nurse Tracey Carter joined West Herts 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 dramatically reduce the vacancy rate for junior nurses from over 23% to around 7%.

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

She has put into place a major support programme for nurses and healthcare assistants, introducing leadership and management training for band 6 and 7 nurses which has developed a leadership pipeline and improved retention.

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

She understands what makes frontline staff tick and drives pride within the organisation, looking for opportunities to recognise people’s efforts and to celebrate them. A champion of diversity, she is committed to improving opportunities for everybody and helped to instigate Black History Month celebrations within the trust.

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 said: “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.”

Contact information

  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: email:, For out of hours media enquiries please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  2. West Hertfordshire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust sees around 600,000 patients a year and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
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