Northampton's nursing teams in the running for two national awards for work with disabled patients in surgery

Northampton General Hospital has been shortlisted for two national awards by The Times newspaper.
Northampton General Hospital has been shortlisted for two national awards by The Times newspaper.

A Northampton General Hospital project to support adults with complex needs when they have surgery has been shortlisted for a national award.

It is one of two entries from the hospital in the running for the Nursing Times Awards 2017, hosted by The Times newspaper.

Northampton's nursing teams have been listed for the "learning disabilities" award, as well as the "theatres" award for another scheme that trains nurses to work in an operating theatre.

It comes after NGH was rated as "good" in a CQC inspection published in May, up from a "requires improvement" rating in 2014.

Debbie Wigley, lead learning disability nurse, said: "Hospitals can be scary places but for those with a learning disability, attending the unfamiliar busy environment can be extremely difficult with surgery providing an even greater challenge.

"We worked closely with the carers of our patients with complex needs and a multi-professional team to understand what specific challenges our patients have and how we can make reasonable adjustments to help.

"Our staff have demonstrated how working differently can have a huge impact on individual patients and their families."

The project, which is a joint entry with the NHS Nene, has led to personalised plans where patients had multiple procedures in the course of a single general anaesthetic to reduce stress and anxiety.

A scheme to train nurses to work in surgery with simulations has also been shortlisted in the "theatres" category.

Beverley Al-Azzawi, a practice development nurse who delivers the hospital’s surgical training programme, said: "Our staff benefit from the structured training programme because it’s underpinned by evidence-based best practice in their specialist area. And because it’s all developed and delivered in-house, there’s no cost."

There are 22 categories in the Nursing Times Awards and the winners will be announced at an awards event in November.

Last year, NGH won the Enhancing Patient Dignity award for its Chit Chat group tailoring antenatal education, parenting advice and peer support to women with additional needs, including learning disabilities or anxiety.