WHEN faced with a devastating diagnosis and your whole world is crumbling around you, he has the calming voice and listening ear that gets you through.

And it is these, among many other special qualities, that has seen Southampton doctor Peter Simmonds nominated for the Daily Echo’s Hospital Heroes Award.

One of his patients, Gillian Walker, knows how much of a difference such dedication and care can make to someone faced with a cancer battle.

The 44-year-old from Chandler’s Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, but when scans revealed that some cancerous cells had survived, she had to make the tough decision about whether or not to have chemotherapy.

That is when she first met oncologist Dr Simmonds, at Southampton General Hospital, and with his help, advice and support – always at the end of the phone when she needed him – the mum-of-one had the confidence to go for the treatment.

Gillian, a metal worker, said: “Even though he may be running late, he would never rush you.

"He always listened and answered my questions, giving me great confidence to make my decision over what treatment to take.

“It must be a very stressful job telling patients the treatment they need and sometimes whether the patient will live or die but he always had a calming voice and managed to put me at ease.

“This must be one of the most stressful jobs to do on a daily basis and I really do think he should receive an award for his strength and commitment.”

Daily Echo readers had the opportunity to nominate anyone employed by the trust which runs Southampton General Hospital, the Princess Anne Hospital and Countess Mountbatten House, as well as some services at the Royal South Hants Hospital.

Dr Simmonds said: “I feel honoured to be nominated for this award and would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the support I receive from the fantastic and dedicated team who work with me.

“It is great for us to receive this recognition for the work we do.”

Nominations have now closed.