BRITAIN'S Public Health Minister praised the work of a tragic Stourbridge doctor who died after a car crash at an event to celebrate unsung health service heroes.
Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health, invited the family of Dr Liz Pope to a Parliamentary ceremony last Thursday to offer her personal thanks for the "excellent work that Dr Pope did in Stourbridge working to establish better and more patient-focused care and local services for dementia patients".
Dr Pope, a popular GP at Three Villages Medical Practice in Amblecote and Wollaston and a key member of Dudley's Clinical Commissioning Group, died just two hours after declining hospital treatment after crashing her car in a country lane near her home in Claverley on the morning of November 27.
The 38-year-old's unexpected death stunned Stourbridge patients and medics and prompted MP Margot James to nominate her for a posthumous award which was presented to Dr Pope's husband Trevor and father Rev Dr David Chantry at a ceremony for health service stars who have strived to benefit their communities.
Jane Ellison said the late GP's work demonstrated the opportunities for innovation offered by the new public health system and she added: "I am sure Dr Pope’s legacy will inspire others to continue her work in improving local public health services both in Stourbridge and the wider community."
MP Margot James said Dr Pope deserved to be recognised for her work to improve the public's health.
She said the GP, who had battled thyroid cancer and overcome a hole in the heart, had been "determined to make a difference to people across the Dudley borough and beyond" and that she'd left the borough's health care "far better than it was before she began her work here".
Ms James said just months before she died Dr Pope had visited her to discuss health campaigns she was developing including a strategy to help people battling alcohol abuse which the MP still hopes will come to fruition in the future.
Dr David Hegarty, chairman of NHS Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, welcomed the award for Dr Pope, and said: "This is a fitting tribute for the many years of hard work and dedication that Liz put in to help the people of Dudley enjoy healthier lives, as well as the work of the teams she was a part of.
He said the GP's efforts to improve the health of people across the borough would also be recognised with the creation of a new accolade - the Liz Pope Award for Outstanding Contribution - which will be awarded at a borough health awards ceremony later this year.