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Associate Director of Customer Solutions and Experience recognised in 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours

The key role of NSS in responding to COVID-19 has been highlighted as Janis Heaney is recognised in the 2022 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Published on 02 June 2022

Photo of Janis Heaney

Janis Heaney, NHS National Services Scotland’s Associate Director of Customer Solutions and Experience, has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday 2022 Honours List.

Announced on 2 June, Janis has been recognised for her role in supporting effective coordination of COVID-19 testing activities in Scotland. Her MBE is awarded for services to public health in Scotland during COVID-19.

Janis was initially tasked with reviewing existing information regarding operationalising UK Government testing in Scotland, but quickly became a lead in rolling out testing centres and testing pathways for health and social care workers and the public alike.

Commenting on the scale of the task she was asked to lead, Janis says: “In the early days there wasn’t a huge amount of complexity; there were a couple of testing centres for key and essential workers, and it was a manual process with spreadsheets to book appointments. Fast forward two years and it’s the biggest mass testing programme Scotland has ever seen: we operated eight regional test centres, 60 local test sites, 42 mobile testing units, and established testing pathways for a range of organisations and groups.”

At the heart of all this effort was ensuring that citizens in Scotland could easily access COVID-19 testing, as Janis explains: “Our goal, in line with Scottish Government policy, was to make testing accessible to anyone who needed it – health worker or not, symptomatic or asymptomatic. We aimed to deliver testing access to every Scottish resident, which was a logistical challenge in some of Scotland’s more remote areas. The operation involved moving literally millions of testing kits around the country, liaising with Scottish Ambulance Service, third sector organisations, employers... all on a four-nations basis.”

Describing the award of an MBE as “a massive honour but definitely a bit surreal” Janis is quick to recognise the work that colleagues across her team, NSS and the NHS in Scotland played in managing the spread of COVID-19: “There’s so many people across the country who’ve gone above and beyond – frontline staff are the absolute heroes in this pandemic. I genuinely don’t feel this is my award, it’s recognition of the amazing collaborative effort so many people invested to achieve such a successful project.”