GP Dr Paul Williams has been made an OBE in the New Year Honours list for services to the NHS, and has also been recognised his work in Parliament as a former Stockton South MP.
Dr Williams, who hopes to be elected as Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland next May, has returned to the NHS frontline during the pandemic.
He has been a doctor for 24 years, working as a GP and in local hospitals.
He also has expertise in public health, which he has used to reduce health inequalities.
Dr Williams has been a leading figure in the local NHS for many years.
He brought together GP practices in Stockton and Hartlepool to jointly run the urgent care centres in the two towns with the hospital, and has improved mental health and dementia care for local people.
He and his wife Vicky, a local nurse leader, also spent four years volunteering on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda where they transformed maternity, HIV and children’s health care.
Since the pandemic began he has completed hundreds of frontline shifts in the local NHS, mainly in Covid clinics.
The honour also recognises Dr Williams’ work in Parliament.
He used his experience as a doctor to make important changes for the people he represented, including a successful campaign to reduce autism diagnosis waiting times, and to improve identification of mental health problems in new mothers.
Dr Williams is Labour’s candidate for Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner.
He has spoken passionately about the problems the force faces and the need for a fresh start and effective leadership.
Cleveland Police faces major challenges from violent crime, drug misuse and the need to help communities feel safe after 500 police were cut over the past decade.
Dr Williams said: “It’s an honour to be recognised in this way for the work that I’ve done for my community during the first half of my career. 2020 has been so hard for so many people. I am glad I’ve played my part to help the NHS and helped people get the care they need.
“But really this award should go to all of the hidden heroes of Covid – the carers, police and police staff, council workers, school and college workers, NHS teams and thousands of others who have worked so hard to keep our community safe, protect our health and look after our children and vulnerable people. I hope to keep serving Teesside as we rebuild for the future.”