CAMPAIGNING NHS whistleblower and popular local poet Rab Wilson says being honoured as a finalist in a prestigious global humanitarian award is 'doubly welcome.’ The New Cumnock mental health nurse has been named as one of three finalists in the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award (RBHA), which is supported by South Ayrshire Council and Event Scotland.

Rab has been nominated for his crusading work which has led to the formation of a national whistleblowers alert line for NHS workers and a new national framework for managing critical incidents within the health service.

He has also lodged a petition to ban the use of confidentiality clauses in the NHS, which may prevent transparency regarding issues of patient care or unethical employment-related issues.

Rab said: “I was extremely proud to learn that I had been chosen as one of the three nominees for the RBHA.

“This will help give a massive boost to the campaigning work I am doing with regards to the NHS, working along with other good people in Accountability Scotland and Patients First.

“As a working poet, who predominantly writes in Scots, and a lifelong fan, performer and student of Robert Burns’ works, this honour is doubly welcome to me. Burns was an utterly fearless campaigner for social justice.

“In my own long correspondence and battle for the truth, I often would quote from Burns’ work; a favourite line was 'There’s nane ever fear’d that the truth should be heard, But they whom the truth would indite.’ As true today as when it was fresh on the page more than two hundred years ago!” The other finalists for the award are Mick Jackson, founder and chairman of the WildHearts Foundation and Blanche Nicolson, Practice Development Director at the charity Hansel.

A total of 30 individual nominations were received for the 2014 Robert Burns Humanitarian Award, with Mick, Blanche and Rab selected as finalists by the RBHA Judging Panel, which is chaired by Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council.

Also on the panel are Jane Brown, President of the Robert Burns World Federation; actor, writer and painter John Cairney; Nat Edwards, Director of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum; former RBHA winners Habib Malik and Guy Willoughby; and STV Chief Executive Rob Woodward.

Councillor McIntosh said: “Once again, we have three very worthy finalists in the running for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award, and our shortlist shows just how wide and varied humanitarian works and efforts can be. I am particularly pleased to see two Ayrshire nominees among our final three – it’s touching and rewarding to know that Rabbie’s ethos and values live on here at home as well as further afield.

“The one thing all our finalists have in common is that they put others first and are committed to changing lives, which is truly humbling.

“My sincere congratulations to Mick, Blanche and Rab and I wish them all the best of luck for the awards ceremony on the Bard’s birthday.”