Published: 10/01/2001, Volume 112, No. 5787 Page 5

The dedication of NHS managers was once again recognised in the new year honours list, with those from nursing backgrounds getting a share of the limelight.

Catherine Elcoat, chief nurse at University Hospital Birmingham trust, has become a dame.A former deputy head of the NHS Clinical Governance Support Team, she told HSJ: 'I am absolutely delighted. I started out as a nurse and thought pretty highly of myself when I became a ward sister. This is a total shock, but also a tribute to all the people I have worked with over the years. I do not think you can achieve anything without that kind of support.'

Heather Drabble, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals trust, Elizabeth Gillies, nursing professional officer at the National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting for Scotland, and Debbie Murdock, general manager in the women's directorate at Rampton Hospital, were among those made OBEs.

Ms Murdock was chair of the Royal College of Nursing council until last autumn, where her responsibilities included overseeing the appointment of general secretary Beverley Malone, and described her reaction as being 'like Victor Meldrew - I just kept saying, 'I do not believe it''.

She too paid tribute to 'the great teams I've been part of ', and added: 'I am certainly pleased that people will see nursing being recognised for all the positive things that have been achieved - despite the problems, we are making a difference.'

Chief executive of East Riding and Hull health authority Janet Soo-Chung was made a CBE, along with Chris Spry who was until last year chief executive of Greater Glasgow health board.

Stephen Thornton, who last year stood down as chief executive of the NHS Confederation to become head of PPP Healthcare Medical Trust, also becomes a CBE.

Dr Philip Monk, public health consultant at Leicestershire HA, was made an OBE, along with Deborah Mellor, department head at the NHS employment branch at the DoH.