A NURSE from Halton’s mental health trust has won a lifetime achievement gong.

Phil Cooper, aged 48, has received the national Breakthrough National Positive Practice in Mental Health Lifetime Achievement Award.

He overcame strong competition from world-renowned personality disorder specialist Professor Anthony Bateman in the hotly-contested category.

The award recognised an excellent nurse leader who is aware of their patients’ needs and firmly advocates on their behalf; understands the importance of informing and reassuring patients and relatives, and has the skills to lead, manage and motivate a team that is committed to offering excellent and compassionate care to all patients.

The judges were wowed by Phil’s string of accomplishments which include initiating the award-winning ‘State of Mind’ programme with the aim of improving the mental health, well-being and the working life of rugby league players and communities.

Phil, who works for the 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am stunned to have my lifetime’s work acknowledged at the grand ‘old’ age of 48.

“I’ve loved every minute of the State of Mind campaign which has given me the opportunity to marry my two great passions in life - nursing and rugby league.

“As Clinical Lead for Adult Services at the trust, I feel privileged to be trusted by my colleagues to represent the nursing ‘voice’ in high-level discussions with senior management.

“But my proudest moments are when I’ve been able to help people to progress with their recovery in my full-time role as a nurse consultant in dual diagnosis - working with service users with mental ill-health who also misuse drugs, alcohol or both.”

The clients Phil works with are all from Halton, Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.

Among the 1,900 players, fans and officials that have been helped through ‘State of Mind’ are those from Widnes Vikings.

Simon Barber, chief executive of the trust, said: “These national awards were all about celebrating positive practice in mental health.

“It’s hard to imagine a more innovative, dedicated and inspiring nurse than Phil. We feel incredibly lucky to have him here at the trust. He is a great role model for any aspiring nurse starting out in their caring career and a truly deserving winner of the Lifetime Achievement accolade.”