A multi award-winning regional daily reporter has been shortlisted for two prizes celebrating the best in medical journalism.
In the regional category she faces competition from BBC Inside Out West Midlands journalist Jonathan Gibson, and Pamela McGowan, of the Carlisle News & Star.
Pamela has been nominated for an exclusive about plans to transfer mums in labour from Whitehaven to Carlisle being dubbed “unsafe” by North West Ambulance Service chief executive Derek Cartwright.
Aasma, who won two highly-commendeds at the recent Regional Press Awards, is nominated for her work on the ‘Great NHS Gamble’ series, in which the Johnston Press investigations team looked at plans to close 19 hospitals across the country.
In the Case Study of the Year category, Aasma is shortlisted for a series of in-depth features she wrote for an organ donation campaign.
The series looked at the issue from different perspectives including those waiting for a transplant, those who received a transplant, those who made the difficult decision to donate organs after losing a loved one and a feature on a dad who decided to donate one of his kidneys to a complete stranger.
Said Aasma: “I am absolutely amazed and delighted to be shortlisted for the MJA Awards. I wasn’t expecting to be shortlisted for one category never mind two.
“Having seen the rest of the shortlist, I feel deeply honoured and flattered to be included among such great company. Congratulations and good luck to everyone shortlisted.”
Of her nomination, Pamela said: “The work I’ve entered is part of our Save Our Services campaign, launched in opposition to health cuts in our area. If successful they will see women who suffer complications in labour facing transfers of over 40 miles to reach the nearest consultant.
“There are real fears for the safety of mothers and babies. Throughout the campaign I have uncovered significant evidence about the risks, contradicting many of the reassurances being offered locally. That includes the leaked letter from the ambulance service which is featured in my nomination article.
“This has been key to our campaign, which has helped secure further time to save services. I am pleased to have been nominated in this category as I feel very strongly that specialist health journalists are needed in the regional press to hold decision makers to account on behalf of the communities they serve.”
The winners will be announced at a ceremony held in London on 22 June.