Health and care heroes to represent the East of England in NHS Parliamentary Awards

Health and care heroes to represent the East of England in NHS Parliamentary Awards

The NHS in the East of England has revealed the ten individuals and teams it has chosen as regional champions for the prestigious NHS Parliamentary Awards to celebrate outstanding health and care staff helping patients as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. 

The regional champions will now go head to head with other winners from across the country for a national award to be presented at a special ceremony in the House of Commons on the 10 July.

Hundreds of examples of staff who go above and beyond the call of duty and who make a genuine difference to the people they care for were nominated by their MPs. In the East, this includes a team who have worked with local hospitals to fast track prostate cancer appointments, a Trust using digital robots to improve patient care, and a specialist nurse ensuring patients are given a special service. 

Launched in March, the NHS called on MPs to find and nominate those individuals or teams they thought have made the biggest improvements to health and care services in their constituencies across ten categories. 

England’s top nurse and leading the national awards ceremony this year, Ruth May, said: 
“A huge congratulations to all those who have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to the NHS as well as making a genuine difference to the patients they care for. It will be a tough task selecting our overall winners – I look forward to hearing more about their fantastic achievements and celebrating with them all at the national award ceremony.”

The ten regional champions selected by an expert panel are:

  • The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award (sponsored by the Premier League): Jen Beer, Health Improvement Lead – Children and Young People, Public Health – Hertfordshire County Council
  • The Excellence in Health Care Award: Sue Pilcher – Lead Cancer Nurse for Urology – NWAFT
  • The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award: High Intensity User team, Milton Keynes CCG
  • The Excellence in Primary Care Award: Kevin Harris, Specialist Nurse, Thorpewood Medical Group
  • The Future NHS Award (sponsored by Fuji Film): Darren Atkins, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT)
  • The Volunteer of the Year Award: Carer Support Team, Watford General Hospital 
  • The Care and Compassion Award: Arthur Rank Hospice Community Team
  • The Health Equalities Award: The Safeguarding Team, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Wellbeing at Work Award: Lucy Eldon, Primary Care Nurse Co-ordinator, East and North Hertfordshire CCG
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Kathy Gibbs, Princess Alexandra Hospital

Ann Radmore, Regional Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the East of England, said:

“I was impressed by the high standard of all entries from the East of England this year and choosing between the dozens of champions, who all go above and beyond, to go forward and represent our region has been incredibly difficult. I wish our champions the best of luck in the national heats and will be rooting for them on the day.”

All of the champions will now be invited to the national awards ceremony for the final stage of judging by a panel of health and care leaders. The ceremony will be held on 10 July at the House of Commons and hosted by Dr Sarah Wollaston, Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, with a special performance from the NHS Choir.

The NHS Parliamentary Awards, supported by Fuji Film, recognise the massive contribution made by individuals who work in and alongside the NHS.

For further details and local quotes from your champions, please see below:

The Excellence in Mental Health Care Award

Jen Beer, Health Improvement Lead – Children and Young People, Public Health – Hertfordshire County Council
The Justtalk campaign run by Hertfordshire county council reduced the number of 12-13 year old boys who said they keep worries about their mental health to themselves from 24% to 20% between 2016 and 2018. Working with local schools who delivered lessons and events, health bodies, youth clubs and Hertfordshire and Watford Football Club Community sports and education trust they have managed to secure funding

Kathryn Magson, CEO of NHS Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group and Chair for the Hertfordshire Emotional and Mental Wellbeing Board, said: “It’s fabulous news that the joint Hertfordshire’s #JustTalk campaign has been chosen as a regional winner. In 2016, Hertfordshire’s Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire stated that 24 per cent of 12-13 year old boys in Hertfordshire kept worries about their mental health to themselves. Following the #JustTalk campaign in 2018, this figure had reduced to 20 per cent and boys were also more likely to talk to others if they were worried about tests, exams or school work. This is an impressive achievement.”

The Excellence in Health Care Award

Sue Pilcher – Lead Cancer Nurse for Urology – NWAFT
A Fast Track Prostate Service for cancer patients which has reduced the wait for a first appointment for patients with suspected prostate cancer from 12 days to 8. The wait for an MRI scan was up to two weeks but now patients have their scan on the same day as their first appointment. Now patients only have to come to one appointment to receive their diagnosis and do not have to wait for another appointment with their consultant to get their diagnosis. 

Louise Mitchell, Chief Operating Officer, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted that the Fast Track Prostate Service has have been shortlisted for the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2019. The changes the team have implemented have made a significant difference to men with suspected prostate cancer by reducing the time they have to wait for diagnosis and treatment, vastly improving the experience that local men receive. Patients care and their experiences with the NHS is at the heart of what we do and we’re pleased to see this service recognised. We would like to thank all of the members of the team at the CCG and North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust for their dedication in making this service happen.”

The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award

High Intensity User team, Milton Keynes
The High Intensity User team delivered by P3 at NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group have taken a new approach to helping some of the most vulnerable and lonely people in our society to flourish, whilst saving NHS resources through sustainable reductions of in A&E attendances; 999 calls and non-elective admissions. The High Intensity User programme that is being delivered through Milton Keynes CCG uses the core principles of a de-medicalised, de-criminalised and humanised approach, providing a personalised response to each individual's circumstances. Results shows that 999 Ambulance calls and hospital admissions drop by about 90% among the group. The impact was not just felt by the health community as calls to the police 999 and 101 numbers from this group also reduced by 52%.

Dr Nicola Smith, GP and Chair of NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "It is fantastic news to hear that this project is a Regional Winner in The Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award category of the NHS Parliamentary Awards and it is an honour to be nominated by a local MP.  The High Intensity Service User scheme provides intensive and bespoke support for people with complex needs, helping to build resilience and reduce crisis.  This award is testament to the hard work carried out by all the organisations involved and highlights that by working innovatively in partnership, we can really improve people’s lives.  On behalf of the whole team I would like to extend a huge thank you for this award."

The Excellence in Primary Care Award

Kevin Harris, Specialist Nurse, Thorpewood Medical Group
Kevin has taken the Learning Disability Healthchecks to a new level, realising that the cohort of patients were special, and needed a special service. He has led the provision of the healthchecks in the surgery – which has maximised completion of successful healthchecks again this year.  Working on a Saturday and a Sunday, Kevin has provided options for appointment time/location, including provision in the home environment, specifically to benefit the patients, many of whom get anxious in a busy surgery setting. This has been noted by the Norfolk County Council HOSC in their review of Learning Disability care in Norfolk. The LD patients and their carers have provided feedback that the quieter, less distracted environment that Kevin is able to offer to run the healthcheck suits their needs.

Dr Richard Hampsheir (correct), from Thorpewood Medical Practice, said: “We are thrilled that Kevin has won the regional award for excellence in primary care. The name of the award sums it up, Kevin makes an outstanding difference to our patients who really appreciate his extra effort and caring touch. We are all immensely proud to work alongside him.”

The Future NHS Award

Darren Atkins, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT)
ESNEFT is the first hospital Trust in the UK to use ‘virtual robots’. Digital technology experts like Deputy ICT Director Darren Atkins are working with clinical teams to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to make systems and processes more efficient and improve patient care. Now virtual robots also work behind the scenes in electronic patient records system, to cancel and reallocate Outpatient appointments when a patient texts to cancel via the appointment reminder service. The projected savings for a year are £1.5million, offering an additional 15,000 clinic appointments to patients. This is for a development that took just five weeks to implement.

Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), said: “We’re delighted the excellent work and results achieved by Darren Atkins and our Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) team has been shortlisted in The Future NHS Award category at the NHS Parliamentary Awards.

“It highlights ESNEFT's success in using pioneering virtual robot technology to release time back to our hardworking staff. Knowing our efforts are bringing real benefits to our patients is extremely rewarding for all of us to see. This recognition motivates us to do even more great things to improve patient care."

The Volunteer of the Year Award

Carer Support Team, Watford General Hospital
The Carer Support Team volunteers provide between 50 – 60 hours of support per week on Children’s Emergency and on Starfish Ward, annually supporting around 5,500 carers. Volunteers find their support is particularly welcomed by carers with limited English, those with no support network, carers with children experiencing life threatening mental health episodes, and carers who children have ongoing, complex treatment needs. The Carer Support Team is an amazing example of the community mobilising to support itself. It provides an excellent service to anxious families challenged with a sick child in hospital, and it enables NHS staff to concentrate on what they do best, making patients better.

The Care and Compassion Award

Arthur Rank Hospice Community Team
Arthur Rank Hospice Community Team comprises the Community Specialist Palliative Care and Hospice at Home (HaH) teams. This relatively small team, managing wide-ranging caseloads has a large impact across Cambridgeshire. The Community Team, and centralised triage service work closely to ensure that patients are transferred quickly and smoothly between services and psychological support as required. Nurses make home visits and provide valuable support and advice by telephone. The HaH overnight service cares for up to 50 patients a month, typically in their last two weeks of life. Their motto is “enabling our patients to live well and supporting their families to live on,” it is vital that family members know their loved ones have experienced a ‘good death’ to enable them to face life beyond the death of someone they love and remain a core part of their own community.

Sharon Allen OBE, Chief Executive at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, said: “The work of this team is greatly valued throughout Cambridgeshire. We have seen the service grow extensively since its launch, and thousands of patients and their loved ones have benefited from the specialist care offered. The Community Specialist Palliative Care and Hospice at Home (H@H) teams comprise small teams which make a large impact through managing a wide ranging caseload. The team are highly skilled and have an appetite to continue evolving to meet the needs of our patients and their families. 
“We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for a Parliamentary Award for Excellence and thank both Heidi Allen and Rt Hon Steve Barclay, MP’s, for their nominations. This is fitting recognition for those who have supported our service and played a part in its success. We hope that this will help raise even greater awareness of the importance of care in the home whilst also encouraging healthcare professionals and people living with life limiting illnesses to reach out to understand the holistic support that our team can deliver.”

The Health Equalities Award

The Safeguarding Team, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
A partnership between the safeguarding team at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Hertfordshire police has provided invaluable healthcare and safeguarding support for sex workers, believed to have been trafficked into the UK from Europe. This was the first time that healthcare workers had participated in a covert police operation to provide safe and well checks on vulnerable groups. Many of these trafficked women do not have access to health and medical care but felt safe disclosing their concerns around neglect and abuse to medical professionals. The safeguarding team prepared information packs for people who were seen during the operation. The packs provided details of domestic violence, victim support and rape crisis charities, as well as how to access sexual health support and A&E. The women were given mini physicals and supplied with condoms and pregnancy tests. This activity often took place in cramped hotel rooms after the team had gained the trust of the women involved. The police feedback was very positive and recognised the invaluable involvement of healthcare professionals providing strong safeguarding support to women attending these operations

Tracey Carter, Chief Nurse at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are delighted to receive a Parliamentary Award in the Health Equalities Award category. This is a real honour to be recognised for the work we carry out in the NHS in West Hertfordshire and an amazing achievement which recognises the hard work and dedication of the safeguarding team who work in partnership with Hertfordshire police to provide invaluable healthcare and safeguarding care for potential victims of trafficking.”

Wellbeing at Work Award

Lucy Eldon, Primary Care Nurse Co-ordinator, East and North Hertfordshire CCG
Through innovative leadership, East and North Hertfordshire CCG is tackling the primary care workforce crisis head on; empowering practice nurses and GPs to make primary care a flexible, attractive career choice for the next generation of clinicians. The workforce team is part of a wider network which brings together NHS organisations and partners from across the area and our ideas have now been adopted across the Hertfordshire and West Essex STP and held up as an example of excellent practice nationally. 

Beverley Flowers, Chief Executive of East and North Hertfordshire CCG said: “This was an innovative project to tackle a very real problem that existed not just in east and north Hertfordshire, but across the country and I’m absolutely delighted that it has been recognised. Lucy’s passion for practice nursing has been the driving force behind the changes that we’ve made to improve the wellbeing and resilience of our workforce and encourage new student nurses to take up roles in primary care.  Putting their professional and personal development at the core of day-to-day working life means our patients are seeing the benefit from a nursing workforce which feels happier, is more positive, is working smarter and delivering better care.”

Lifetime Achievement Award 

Kathy Gibbs, Princess Alexandra Hospital 
Kathy, is the longest serving member of staff, working for 53 years’ in the NHS at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow and has only very recently retired (March 2019). Kathy started to work in the NHS at PAH as a cadet nurse in 1965 aged 17. She worked in outpatients, radiology, pharmacy and several of the inpatient wards whilst attending teaching sessions at St. Margaret’s Hospital, Epping, before undergoing further training in 1966 to qualify as a registered nurse working at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Kathy is described by her colleagues as being always able to make care come to life with her stories and sharing her experiences to support learners to really understand the impact of their roles and actions. These colleagues, continuing their careers in the NHS, are able to pass this valuable knowledge and insight in the development of NHS people of the future. 

Sharon McNally, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, said: "I am delighted that Kathy has been shortlisted in the Lifetime Achievement Award category. Her 53 years' service as a nurse in the NHS is a credit to her professionalism and an example of the commitment and passion that so many individuals have for caring for patients. This commitment extended to continually developing her skills, meeting the needs of patients and making a difference to the people she cared for and the people she worked alongside."


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