Rab Wilson, who is campaigning to ban the use of confidentiality clauses in the NHS after revealing the mistakes at NHS Ayrshire and Arran, and fellow nominee Blanche Nicolson, are the first from the Bard's home area of Ayrshire to have been shortlisted for the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award. Ms Nicolson has been nominated for her work with the charity Hansel. The third nominee is Mick Jackson, who set up the WildHearts Foundation which tackles economic injustice.
Mr Wilson said that as a poet who writes predominately in Scots, the honour was "doubly welcome". "Burns was an utterly fearless campaigner for social justice," he said.
Ms Nicolson said: "I have been privileged throughout my life to walk closely with many amazing people with learning difficulties, and their families.
"It is only through their success that I can be measured in any way."
Previous winners of the award, which is supported by South Ayrshire Council and Event Scotland and will be announced on January 25, include aid workers Linda Norgrove, who was killed in Afghanistan, and Khalil Dale, who died in Pakistan.