Staff and volunteers celebrate Northampton General Hospital’s unsung heroes

Paul Tobin and the Estates team

Paul Tobin and the Estates team

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Over 60 shortlisted individuals and teams gathered to find out who would be declared winners at the Best Possible Care awards at Northampton’s Park Inn hotel.

The ceremony played host to 10 deserving champs including hospital-visiting dogs, infection prevention nurses and carpenters who were all awarded for their huge range of skills and services.

Chief executive, Dr Sonia Swart, said: “Our Best Possible Care Awards provide a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase and celebrate our staff and volunteers who help bring about real improvements to our services and the care our patients receive.”

The ceremony, which was in sponsorship with Northamptonshire Healthcare Charitable Fund, Johnson & Johnson, Avery Healthcare and the BGL Group gave out 10 awards to deserving healthcare winners.

Best Possible Care award winners are:

Clinical team of the year: Gynaecology Team on Spencer Ward

Valerie Ross

Valerie Ross

The individual who nominated this team said: “This team has always provided me with the utmost dignity and care when treating me. The ward nurses provide comfort and reassurance; even a simple hug that I so desperately needed. I am indebted to the nurses who cared for me and showed me there was/is light at the end of a very dark tunnel.”

Non-clinical team of the year: Paul Tobin & the Estates Team

The individual who nominated this team said: ‘The estates team at NGH regularly go the extra mile for our ward teams and departments. Despite our many pleas for jobs they never fail to turn up with a smile to make the changes we need with as little disruption as possible. They always put themselves in the patient’s position and can see the impact their work has on our patients and our staff.”

Unsung hero (clinical): Holly Slyne, Infection Prevention and Control

Pre-op Assessment team

Pre-op Assessment team

Holly’s nominator said: “Holly is always positive, often volunteers to take a task on, always looks for ways to improve patient care or a process and is constantly looking few new innovations to try. Her first answer is never ‘No’, it is ‘Let me think about it’ and she usually comes up with a solution that works.”

Unsung hero (non-clinical): Val Ross, A&E

Val’s nomination said: “Val is the most valuable member of the team. She does far more than provide drinks and food for patients. She always takes time to chat and put people’s minds at rest when they are anxious or don’t understand what is happening. Val offers kindness when clinical staff are rushed off their feet; when Val is working you know that patients are well cared for.”

Patient safety award: Carolyn Hammond, Information, Communication & Technology

Anne Hicks

Anne Hicks

The nomination for Carolyn said: “When faced with a problem regarding the quick requesting of diagnostic tests Carolyn quickly developed a ‘Lymphoma investigation bundle’ on the ICE system, accessed at the click of a button. She also developed a prompt on ICE to remind clinicians about VTE risk assessment within 24hrs of receiving the request. Carolyn’s dedication and prompt action is one to be admired. She has contributed immensely to patient safety in our hospital.”

Patient experience award: Joy Darling, Emergency Assessment Unit

The individual who nominated Joy said: “Recently a patient on EAU had her 97th birthday on the ward, but there were no visitors, no cards – nothing. Joy bought big card, took it round the hospital and got over 100 signatures; seventeen members of staff each bought a small gift for the patient and took them to her, so she had a stream of visitors and presents. At tea time they arranged for a cake on staff stood round the patient’s bed to sing Happy Birthday. This story warms my heart.”

Chief Executive’s Innovation in Practice award: Sharron Matthews and the Pre-Operative Assessment Team

The individual who nominated this team said: “Sharron and her team knew that patients were waiting too long to be seen and this was causing everyone significant stress. So Sharron brought in the IQE team and, with her leadership, they bravely faced the problems and made changes that led to shorter waiting times and better patient flow. The team proudly displays their monthly results in the ward and use these to keep discussion and momentum going.”

Volunteer of the Year: Pets as Therapy Team

Volunteers of the year winners, 'Pets as Therapy' team

Volunteers of the year winners, 'Pets as Therapy' team

The individual who nominated this team said: “The Pets as Therapy volunteers and their dogs provide comfort, distraction and aid recovery. Having the dogs on the wards promotes a sense of wellbeing. The volunteers give up their own time to do this special job. They are always willing to visit any ward or patient when asked, and the dogs are exceptionally well-behaved.”

Clinical Educator of the Year award: Dr Christopher Frerk, Consultant Anaesthetist

The person who submitted this nomination said: “Dr Frerk introduced continuous capnography monitoring to ensure patients are breathing clearly when they return from day theatres. He tailors the training for recovery practitioners and operating department practitioners to meet individual needs and is always available to answer queries, even if it is out of his working hours.”

Outstanding Contribution award: Anne Hicks, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

The person who nominated Anne said: “As a clinical nurse specialist Anne looks after all our head and neck oncology patients from point of diagnosis through to discharge at 5 years. She is their first point of contact for any problems and, quite often, the solution. Anne is one of the few (if not the only) clinical nurse specialists reviewing oncology patients independently at a national level. She also manages a busy 6 room outpatient department and is a keen teacher and innovator. An admirable role model for young nurses and doctors, Anne also provides support to a hospital and schools in Nandom, Ghana through her work with the charity FREED UK. Apart from all the academic and pastoral accolades, the one outstanding feature of Sister Hicks is her passion for patient-centred care and support. She is just as enthusiastic and empathetic towards their needs today, often dealing with them at a very difficult stage of their lives, as she was when she started her career nearly 40 years ago.”

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