2019 Winners

Here are the winners of the 2019 Unsung Hero Awards:

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EVERYDAY HERO AWARD - ADMIN & CLERICAL

Laura Bell

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

Just 6 months into the job of Obstetric Secretary, Laura has so much genuine enthusiasm and commitment for helping and supporting parents and colleagues, sometimes in very difficult situations.

Her dedication to mothers and families suffering pregnancy loss is wonderful and it's reassuring to know that any woman with a concern or query is directed to the appropriate person for help.

Pregnancy loss is a very sensitive area of care. Nevertheless, Andrea believes Laura is most definitely an Unsung Hero as she always goes the extra mile.

EVERYDAY HERO AWARD - IT

Peter Fox

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Pathology Department of any Hospital is integral for delivering safe, effective and timely patient care. Peter makes sure this happens by keeping the systems supported by IT running 24/7!

Peter is one of the few people where "going the extra mile" is the norm. Whether it’s working in his Dad's workshop in the evening, so IT hardware can function to its highest capability. Popping out to Maplins in his lunchtime to buy equipment (with his own money) guaranteeing continuation of service, or staying behind in work very late so he can fix a printer before the night shift team starts work. Peter epitomises the words Unsung Hero!

EVERYDAY HERO AWARD - CORPORATE FUNCTIONS

Alma Stewart

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Alma Stuart is a Communications Officer at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals. This lone mother of three has done whatever it takes to run campaigns to highlight the fantastic achievements of those who work at Blackpool, including The NHS70 campaign last year where she managed to get birthday wishes broadcast by stars like Sooty, Jimmy Cricket, Bobby Ball and Linda Nolan, to name a few. Probably the biggest event Blackpool Teaching Hospitals has seen in many years – #TheGreatBTHKnit - was a 15-month campaign to create 28,000 knitted poppies for a special model of the Menin Gate, displayed in the main entrance of Blackpool Victoria Hospital as part of the Centenary of WW1. Alma is a true Unsung Hero!

EVERYDAY HERO AWARD - ANCILLARY STAFF

Karen Shields

NHS Borders

Karen's thoughtfulness and compassion in dealing with difficult situations and processes for families in the hospital's mortuary makes them feel assured everything is being done to support them. She may be hidden away in a very quiet corner of the hospital, but this little space is filled with Karen’s care and compassion.

Karen deals with the deceased daily, from 0 years to 100.

Pregnancy, baby and child loss are the most unimaginably painful things to happen to any mother or parent. Karen truly understands this and treats everyone with a comforting smile, helping them at a time when they cannot always help themselves.

LEADER OF THE YEAR - ADMIN & CLERICAL

Carl Ramsdale

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust

Carl has been pivotal in enhancing the work skills, confidence and personal development of a young man named Seb, who joined the Trust on a learning disabilities internship. The championing, respect and time Carl has invested has aided hugely in the confidence Seb now radiates.

Carl has supported him with his career goals and aspirations and helped embed him into the workforce, providing a safe environment for Seb to learn and grow, as well as adding value to his team and the organisation.

Due to Carl's efforts Seb has now been accepted onto a University Degree programme. Seb now regularly holds his own at board presentation sessions and induction training for new staff to the organisation. He is a well-respected member of the organisation and is often booked to complete other administration tasks for teams across the organisation, due to the support and backing of Carl.

LEADER OF THE YEAR - IT

Venkata Padala

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Venkata entered the role of "Head of Enterprise Wide Applications” 4-years ago. He has always stipulated that the patient is at the heart of everything the Trust does, and that the teams that support them are core to enablers. Venkata’s nominator Suhail Patel states the Trust wishes they could make clones of Ven, as they think he’s a hidden gem and is truly the Unsung Hero in IT and Technology Services. Always placing others before himself, selfless and not selfish, caring and is what a leader should be: having his people’s best interests at heart.

LEADER OF THE YEAR - CORPORATE FUNCTIONS

Vicki Elcock

Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust

While Vicki Elcock has a clinical background and is managing clinical services, her role as senior manager is very much non-medical.

The huge contribution of managers can often be overlooked. Vicki's main role has been to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders to bring about a One Oldham approach to supporting vulnerable people.

Vicki has demonstrated an awe-inspiring ability to negotiate and bridge cultural divides and develop a harmonious team that benefits patients. She will always go the extra mile. She shares her experience and expertise with colleagues in another borough, and whatever the problem or challenge is, she approaches it with a smile.

LEADER OF THE YEAR - ANCILLARY STAFF

Amanda Piper

East London NHS Foundation Trust

Amanda’s kindness and commitment to her patients was rated by her nominator Tracy Connellan as being of ‘the highest standard’. Amanda arranged funerals when there was no family around, bought clothes at local shopping centres and arranged parties and special treats for patients who were alone. Amanda’s communication skills with her patients were described by Tracy as “amazing to watch”. Amanda can talk "their language", despite many having debilitating diseases. Carers give such positive feedback about Amanda, Tracy stated the ward where Amanda is based would not be the same for the patients and staff without her.

TEAM OF THE YEAR - ADMIN & CLERICAL

Chemotherapy Co-ordination Team

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The Chemotherapy Co-ordination Team has shown true innovation and dedication in developing an 'IT Chemo Report' system and ensuring its smooth implementation into the Chemotherapy Day Unit.

The unit is increasingly busy - with an approx. 10-12% increase in treatments required per year and the team’s development has been a huge improvement over the old cumbersome systems.

The new system has links between the electronic diary and the prescribing system and provides automatic assurances that chemotherapy has been prescribed, screened and received by the external company. This has had an enormous impact on workload, saving considerable time for the department!

TEAM OF THE YEAR – IT

EPR Development Team

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

Salford Royal’s vision is to improve the digital maturity of the organisation and become an internationally recognised NHS care provider, delivering exceptional care using world-class digital technology. This EPR Development team has been instrumental in delivering on that vision.

There are many examples of this Team's groundbreaking developments – one such is the new electronic assessment tool for delirium, which is helping patients and their families by accurately diagnosing more patients with delirium.

This system is the first of its kind in the NHS in England and is drawing interest, both locally and nationally.

TEAM OF THE YEAR - CORPORATE FUNCTIONS

Cancer Information Centre Volunteers

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

The Cancer Information Centre opened in early 2016 and a team of 4 volunteers were recruited. The number of volunteers has continued to grow and now stands at 14 with recruitment continuing.

The volunteers have played a vital role in the development of the service and regularly switch outside commitments to meet the needs of the centre. They are an integral part of the service, ensuring the service functions on a daily basis.

The volunteers are an integral part of the centre and without them the facilitation of the weekly craft and chat group, or attendance in a walk and talk group, couldn’t be possible. These activities ensure that people living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis have access to supportive and enjoyable activities outside of a hospital environment.

TEAM OF THE YEAR - ANCILLARY

East Surrey Hospital Mortuary Team

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

This team's care, pride and compassion is second to none. Their manager Simon Rolfe is dedicated to his work, staff, trainees and most importantly: his patients. Simon sets very high standards within his mortuary and his staff all work to the same end.

Daily the team deal with bereaved relatives. They care for children who have succumbed to various tragedies. They care for people who have sadly been dead for a considerably long time, and yet the team go unnoticed.

Their working environment is enclosed without windows and its very cold. However, their morale is high, they go ‘above and beyond’ because they are dedicated to their patients. They are the definition of hidden Unsung Heroes.

LIFE SAVER AWARD

Joanne Thompson

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust

Jo is a Domestic at Princess Alexandra Hospital and on a particularly cold & frosty Sunday in late October, she was standing outside the Emergency Department when a car pulled up sharply and a man rushed out, racing inside the hospital leaving the car doors open.

Jo then heard screams coming from inside the car and went to investigate. She found a young woman on her hands and knees in front of her, having just given birth to a baby. Whilst others rushed off for help, Jo found herself alone with both mum and her new-born baby who wasn't making any sound.

Jo immediately realised that it was up to her to help both mum and baby. She instantly took off her coat and wrapped the baby in it. It still didn't cry. Without thinking Jo gently opened the baby’s mouth and with her little finger cleared it so the baby could breathe.

Immediately the baby took a breath and let out a loud cry to the relief of both Jo and the mother. The family were taken into the Emergency Department and Jo went back to work!

PATIENTS' CHOICE AWARD

Olivia Molyneux

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

After collapsing on a remote part of the South West Coastal Path in Cornwall, Olivia’s nominator Dave George dialled 999 and was put through to Olivia, who is a call handler for South Western Ambulance Service. Dave describes Olivia as “totally EXCEPTIONAL.” Olivia dealt with a very difficult and challenging call in the most superb way. She stayed on the line whilst the SWAS units were sent to find Dave on a remote coastline.

The Cornwall air ambulance arrived along with coast guard vehicles and an ambulance. All the staff were amazing, however, the kindness and calm professionalism of Olivia, who took the initial call, deserves special praise. Olivia’s nominator Dave stated that he didn’t think he could have gotten through that hour alone without her staying on the line and talking to him. Olivia did this despite how busy the control room was, Dave expressed that he will never forget her kindness.

APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR

Katie Claydon

Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Katie Claydon goes over and above in her work supporting the Communications Team, especially in staff engagement awards and celebration events. For example, Katie supported her staff 'proud to be good’ event, by sourcing cakes and goodies for all clinical and non-clinical areas in the Trust, to say “thank you” for helping get the 'Good' rating from the CQC.

Katie created a '12 Days of Christmas' competition for staff and now singlehandedly manages it, sourcing thousands of pounds worth of prizes for staff. For the 70th anniversary of the NHS she provided support for many of the Trust’s corporate events.

Katie also attends out of work hours events to interact with the public and encourages them to become a member at the hospital. Her social media skills are second to none and she creates engaging posts for the hospital's Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as placing great stories on the website and 'Hub' intranet site. Katie is a vital member of her small team - working at a level which is way above her NHS grade - and she always provides a fast, efficient response to the many requests she receives each day in a busy hospital.

LIFETIME SERVICE AWARD

Eileen McMahon

Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Eileen is one of Luton and Dunstable’s longest serving volunteers, having been with the Trust for 44 years. In 1974 Eileen began volunteering with the Red Cross providing beauty therapy services and massages for psychiatric patients. She went on to help the Red Cross establish similar clinics in three other towns. Three years later Eileen was asked by the Red Cross to attend a training course in London, to become a qualified skin camouflage practitioner and has been supporting patients at Luton and Dunstable ever since.

Living with a visible disfigurement, such as vitiligo or port wine stains, can pose a serious emotional and psychological challenge for a person. Skin camouflage is an NHS treatment for patients who suffer from a range of debilitating skin conditions and disfigurements. Skin Camouflage transforms lives and Eileen supports adults and children with the treatment.

Eileen is described as a wonderful lady, patient, empathetic, kind and caring. She works diligently with individuals, teaching them how to apply products to themselves. She truly empowers people to face the world with confidence. On behalf of patients, past, present and future, from L&D we cannot thank her enough.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Mandy Preece

The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Mandy started as a day centre volunteer in 2011, she developed an interest in supporting patients in the final stages of their life. With no formal training Mandy learnt from the patients and has always said that “the patients have been my teacher”. Her skills merged into setting up a volunteer scheme in the community, where volunteers support carers and patients in their home during the last few weeks of life.

Mandy became so valuable a huge team of end-of-life volunteers was established. Mandy created a training package to support the end of life volunteers, which was a massive success. Her Communication Skills Training Program formed part of the Princess Royal Training Award, awarded to the unit in 2017, and the Queen's Award for Volunteering, awarded in 2018.

Mandy is always there to support staff and volunteers at a moment's notice. Her contribution to end-of-life support is so valuable that staff at the Macmillan Unit are now receiving her training.

SPECIAL MENTION AWARD

Chantal Lockey

The Foundation for Infant Loss Training

Sadly, Chantal Lockey lost her daughter to Sudden Infant Death some 15 years ago. She felt that the care and support given to her at that time was poor. In 2007 Chantal set up ‘The Foundation for Infant Loss Training’, whose main aim is to educate medical staff so that other families in similar situations can receive the very best bereavement care and ongoing support. To date Chantal has trained thousands of people in the NHS and related organisations, including Universities.

Chantal delivered the very first Infant Loss Conference in the UK in March 2017. Over 300 professionals attended and agreed to collaborate to ensure they are working together moving forwards, to raise levels of bereavement care and support to families in similar situations

In February 2019 Chantal received an Honorary Doctorate in Science, awarded from Bedford University for Services to Charitable Causes, namely her work within the NHS.