Excellence Awards for 12 amazing individuals and teams who helped Northampton General Hospital deliver great care during Covid

DJ Jo Whiley joins praise for the 'champions' who went above and beyond
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Some Northampton NHS heroes finally took a few hours off to have their work during the Covid-19 pandemic recognised at a special ceremony.

Northampton General Hospital held its Excellence Awards ceremony virtually on Thursday (November 25), marking a range of compassionate, caring and innovative efforts.

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Patients and carers joined hospital staff in nominating teams and individuals for the awards across a wide variety of categories.

Among the 12 winners were an audiology team member whose outstanding support may have saved a 16-year-old’s hearing, a doctor whose extra tests found and treated a cancer diagnosis, and teams and individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty to support patients and colleagues during the last 18 months.

NGH chief executive, Heidi Smoult, said: “The last year has been extremely difficult for everyone, and I am very proud of the commitment and dedication of all our

hospital teams throughout these challenges.

“Staff and volunteers have provided unrelenting support for patients and their families, and for each other, through a period of extremely challenging pressures, tragedy, and grief.

Thursday's awards recognised the efforts of NGH staff through the Covid pandemicThursday's awards recognised the efforts of NGH staff through the Covid pandemic
Thursday's awards recognised the efforts of NGH staff through the Covid pandemic
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“Our awards cannot do full justice to all of those involved in our hospitals’ response but they can highlight some of the many great examples of those who have gone above and beyond

in so many different ways. I am honoured to be the Hospital CEO and to work alongside these exceptional colleagues.”

Among those joining the party was radio DJ Jo Whiley, whose sister Frances was just one of the thousands cared for at NGH during the pandemic.

Jo, who still lives in Northamptonshire, said: "Frances and I would just like to say a huge Congratulations to all the nominees and winners at the excellence awards.

Each nominee got their own special message ahead of last night's awards ceremonyEach nominee got their own special message ahead of last night's awards ceremony
Each nominee got their own special message ahead of last night's awards ceremony
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"Obviously each and everyone of you are champions and we thank you for all do."

NGH winners were:

Caring through Covid team award — Hawthorn ward

For its work as a Covid ward during the intense pressures of both waves of the pandemic. They work as a fantastic team staying positive and supporting each other and are always there to support everyone, patients, and relatives.

Caring through Covid individual award — Basel Alouanti

The consultant microbiologist was on call for 24-hours-a-day and seven-days-a-week as the only microbiologist for much of the pandemic. No one has worked as many hours as Basel.

Patient experience award — Dr Aron Sraj

A consultant radiologist, Dr Sraj investigated and supported a lady with a benign biopsy result but who, on further investigation, had early stage breast cancer. The lady’s nomination read: “His professionalism and empathy in dealing with my shock and the subsequent dissemination of information was truly outstanding. I would like to say a massive thank you to Dr Sraj for potentially saving my life when he could have simply accepted the initial benign results of the first biopsy.”

Clinical team of the year award — Occupational Health

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Everyday they work tirelessly to ensure each member of every team in all departments of the hospital, from cleaners and administration staff to porters and consultants are taken care of

Non-clinical team of the year award — Pathology

The staff are integral for the functioning of the hospital and without them 85 percent of the diagnoses would not occur.

Respect, support and inclusion award — Megan Gibbons

A healthcare assistant who has supported a new international staff who joined Esther White Ward in December 2020. The nurse’s nomination read: “At times, I felt overwhelmed and confused. Nevertheless, I was not alone. Out of all team members who supported me Megan stands out. She helps out all the staff equally without any differentiation on any background. She does all these good deeds out of sincerity and love for humanity."

Research and innovation award — Rosie Griffiths and Siobhan Abrahams

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A dispensary manager and pharmacist for emergency medicine who invented and successfully rolled out across NGH a controlled drug measurement ruler which is now also being piloted

in Southampton and Norwich — protected by NGH's first Trademark licensing deal!

Volunteer of the Year — Val Eldridge

One of the NGH Volunteer army, there have been many times Val has given extra hours when numbers were low and done so with a smile on her face. She has even offered to be on hand to talk to other volunteers that may be struggling or may need someone to speak to.

Unsung Hero Clinical – joint winners Sorrelle Benham-Facer and Michelle Sandilands

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Sorrelle is an assistant mammographic practitioner whose technical ability is outstanding, consistently having the best performance score amongst her colleagues and throughout our region. This ensures her patients never need extra images performed, saving them any further physical discomfort and psychological distress.

Michelle is a senior paediatric audiologist who supported a family whose 16-year-old son suddenly lost his hearing. They said: “Michelle was great from the onset, she tracked down an ENT consultant who reviewed the situation and explained my son would be treated as a medical emergency and saved his hearing.

Unsung Hero, non-clinical — Victoria Darby

Vicki has handled a waiting list for cardiology single-handedly and dealt with a backlog without complaint. She will phone patients to ensure they are happy with the procedures and won’t finish work until all patients have been spoken to.

Inspirational colleague award — Liz Summers

A Macmillan lead nurse who led her team to receive a Penner award in work relating to prostate cancer and access to clinical nurse specialists. She is totally committed to providing the best care possible to our cancer patients and their relatives and to ensuing our staff have the skills, knowledge and core values to provide this.

Best use of charitable funds award — Kerry Messam

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Specialist nurse practitioner Kerry undertook an initiative called 'Walking the Walk' looking at the experience of relatives or carers visiting a dying loved one in hospital. This included having comfort packs and specially equipped side rooms in the wards to help relatives, particularly those who have travelled a long distance.