This year marks the 75th anniversary of the National Health Service and today we could not imagine life without it despite some of the challenges we as a trust – and the wider NHS – have faced in more recent times.
We spend so much time, effort and energy concentrating on the here and now, we don’t often get the opportunity to take some time out to reflect on and acknowledge the fantastic work happening across Newcastle Hospitals.
Our Celebrating Excellence Awards are an opportunity to do just that. Despite these pressures (and sometimes because of them), our teams and individuals are still pushing forwards to develop new services and drive innovation to support patients.
It’s fitting as we celebrate this diamond anniversary, that we show appreciation for all that our staff do, day in and day out, whether that’s in our hospitals, the community or in clinical and non-clinical areas.
This anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate the work of our Black and ethnic minority colleagues, who today make up almost a quarter of the NHS workforce, as 2023 also marks 75 years since the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush with many passengers taking up roles in the NHS, which was launched just two weeks later on 5 July 1948.
We received hundreds of nominations for our staff, volunteers and charity supporters so you should all be proud to be shortlisted and are all winners in our eyes.
There are 15 awards in total which, in honour of NHS 75, includes a Lifetime Achievement Award as well as our Chief Executive and Chairman’s Awards, which will be presented at the end of the evening.
Finally, we would like to thank all of our generous sponsors including Newcastle Hospitals Charity and our reception sponsor Newcastle Health Innovation Partners, who have helped to make our Awards so special.
Our 2023 Celebrating Excellence Awards
Innovation, Transformation & Research
Sponsored by: Academic Health Science Network (NENC)
Winner: BadgerNet Maternity Support Team
After almost a year of ‘blood, sweat and tears’ in the planning and development stages, this team successfully rolled out BadgerNet – a new innovative electronic patient record for patients and staff – in January, replacing maternity paper records used across Newcastle Hospitals and its community settings.
A true example of collaborative working between clinical and support services, this system has positively improved and streamlined maternity pathways, as well as the patient’s digital journey.
For staff, it allows real time digital recording and archiving of CTG traces, direct links between maternity and neonatal systems for fast-tracking and sharing information, access to lab results and scans as well as ‘real time’ patient information.
While patients can access a portal ‘Badger Notes’ providing them with greater visibility and control of their personalised maternity care – either through an app or desktop browser – with access to their maternity notes, leaflets and online resources.
The result, a huge benefit for everyone and plans are now underway to roll this out in neonates.
- Newcastle Centre for Bowel Disease Research Team
- Stroke Research Team
- Hospital Admission Avoidance (HAT)
Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
Winner: Simulation Team
Facilitating over 300 simulation days every year at the RVI and Freeman Hospital for a wide range of wards and departments, including community health, this team’s commitment to quality improvement, patient safety and simulated-based learning, regionally, nationally – and in some cases internationally – is unwavering.
A range of scenarios enable the Sim team to help reduce risks to patient safety and continually improve care as well as improve the quality of training and teaching we can offer.
One example of their work includes the SCOOP (skin exposure – cut sutures – open skin – open muscles – pack wound) course in which a low-cost solution was developed to simulate airway complications arising post-thyroidectomy, allowing trainees to recognise and immediately treat a neck haematoma post-surgery on a manakin – training now recognised nationally.
But their list of courses and in-situ simulation sessions is endless including burns, tracheostomy care, falls and syncope (possibly a world first), emergency care, PICU, maternity, assessment suites, cardiology, theatres and paediatrics – all of which play a massive part in developing confidence and expertise in many staff.
- aHUS Specialist Nurses
- Joanne Campbell, Endoscopy Sister
- Deborah Webster, Advanced Occupational Therapist
Sponsored by: University of Sunderland
Winner: International Recruitment Steering group
Over the last two years, this group consisting of the International Recruitment nursing team, finance, HR, commercial enterprise and procurement, have supported over 500 overseas nurses in joining the trust.
The team has gone above and beyond their scope of work in welcoming our extended Newcastle Hospitals family who have made the life-changing decision to choose our organisation and the wider city as their new home.
From offering pastoral support to candidates before reaching the UK, to sorting out employment and health checks, accommodation, bank accounts, uniforms and taking nurses through the OSCE – as well as providing on-going aftercare – their ‘can do’ approach is now considered to be national
As well as sharing lessons learned and supporting other trusts on their journey in international recruitment, they have also helped to mitigate nursing vacancies in the organisation. Partnership working at its best!
- NEY Genomic Medicine Service Alliance
- Volunteer Services Team
- Patient Experience Team
- Tobacco Dependency Treatment Service Team
Valued and Heard
Winner: Sinead Greener
A lead clinical pharmacist and pharmacy lead for ‘What Matters to You’, Sinéad has accomplished much in her few months as steering group chair, particularly when you think about the size of this department in one of the country’s largest teaching hospitals.
Across the service, particularly post pandemic, there was some frustration that not all voices were heard and increasing demands – combined with more home / remote working – had created a sense of disconnection.
As part of a Quality Improvement project to support the pharmacy team voice, Sinéad and the WMTY group have held over 30 focus group and 1-1 sessions with staff to date, as well as a survey, to find out what made a good day at work for them and – importantly – what was getting in
The results of these conversations have been themed, enabling individual teams to focus on smaller issues while larger departmental concerns can be addressed as a whole. Importantly, team engagement has increased across the board and this work continues and is now embedded
- Katie Martin
- Lisa Hodgson and Exton Sanchez
- The NIHR CRN NENC Wellbeing Team
Charity Supporter of the Year
Winner: The Rich Family
Nicole and her younger sister Jessica both have Batten Disease – a very rare disorder that typically begins in childhood causing seizures, loss of speech, reduced mobility and childhood dementia and for which there is no known cure.
Every month for years, parents Gail and Matthew Rich and their girls had to travel thousands of miles to access treatment in London and they campaigned tirelessly to ensure the life-prolonging infusions their daughters needed were approved for use on the NHS.
That treatment is now available to them at The Great North Children’s Hospital which they have described as ‘life changing’ and in July 2022, Gail and Matthew organised and ran the Sweetheart Ball to raise awareness of this disease and also to fundraise for Ward 2B, where Nicole and Jessica receive their treatment. In total an amazing £11,466 was raised.
Keen to use the money for sensory equipment or to enhance the sensory experiences of children on the ward, The Sensational Thinking Project was engaged to do a wider piece of work and new sensory equipment and distraction toys have now been purchased with work ongoing to redesign individual cubicles.
Through the Nicole and Jessica Rich Foundation, the family have made it their mission to not only raise awareness by sharing their own experiences but also to fundraise to support care for their girls and the hospital. A fifth fundraising ball has since been held in 2023 – the family are truly
- Lee Perkins
- Katie Watson
Volunteer of the Year
Winner: Jackie and Martin McLellan with Daisy the dog
Our four-legged ‘Pets as Therapy’ friend, an adorable cockapoo (and of course her owners!) have melted the hearts of staff and patients alike with their weekly visits to the children’s ward – certainly if the number of nominations we received are anything to go by!
With support from the team, the trio adapt their therapy sessions to keep our young patients entertained, challenged and motivated and the dedicated training Daisy has had from Jackie and Martin means her repertoire of tricks is vast and can be integrated into physiotherapy sessions, including joint yoga races.
For those who are quite poorly or with a severe injury, Daisy is also able to remain calm and still provide doggy cuddles, bringing a smile to everyone’s faces.
“She’s a beautiful, calming and happy experience for all that come into contact with her – we all look forward to visits from Daisy and her wonderful owners who are so generous with their time never rush the children. The lift they give the ward is amazing – we can’t thank them enough for improving the hospital experience in such a wonderful way.”
- Volunteers Team – Emergency Department
- Pamela Yanez
Winner: Shane Adams
A tireless advocate for neurodiversity for the Local Clinical Research Network (LCRN) and the trust, Shane has made significant improvements to the team’s culture and environment, having a huge impact on the lives of colleagues, the research community and ultimately patients.
As direct delivery team co-ordinator he has started conversations about neurodiversity and championed many initiatives in the LCRN which have ultimately paved the way for people to get involved in health and care research.
Shane ensured appropriate adjustments were in place to support people who are neurodivergent to participate fully in research and has written blogs, presentations and articles for the core team to help them understand the challenges people can face and how we flex to accommodate and empower them.
As a result, changes have been made to the way interviews are conducted – ensuring they are now more inclusive and adaptable to different needs – and there has been an increase in the number of people who are neurodivergent in research.
A true champion of equalities and inclusion he now plans to continue his work of raising further awareness and educating staff in the wider trust.
- Tor Metcalfe-Megginson and Jamie Conway
- Poonam Singh
- Sally Ellis
- Gemma Norman
The Shine Award (Sustainable Healthcare in Newcastle)
Sponsored by: Veolia
Winner: Procurement and Supply Chain
The supplies and procurement team were one of the first teams to adopt our ten-step framework for sustainability and have consistently been amongst the best performing departments across the trust.
A strategy has been developed, awareness and understanding has increased through training (with half of all managers completing a climate emergency for managers course) and a network of green champions is being built. The team also developed a bespoke healthcare-specific version of the smart carbon calculator platform, providing a basis for measuring, reporting and reducing carbon footprint and the impact of the
They have engaged, supported and encouraged suppliers – both large and small – in supporting our Net Zero goal and the development of this bespoke model has not only been of huge benefit to the healthcare sector but also been replicated for other sectors including local authorities, universities and the construction industry.
- ILM Sustainability Team
- RVI 23 and Pharmacy Teams
- Katy Whitehouse, Consultant Obstetric Anaesthetist
Winner: Hannah Perez, Nurse Specialist – Stroke
Since moving to the UK from the Philippines and joining the team on the hyper-acute stroke unit, Hannah’s hard work, passion and enthusiasm to develop her skills and knowledge in this field of medicine soon led to her appointment as a
One of her significant achievements has been leading the paramedic video triage project, working closely with the ambulance service to support the roll-out of a pilot study, in which she liaised with trial leads, co-ordinated data collection, supported stroke nurses and helped with staff education of the new equipment.
The project aims to triage ‘FAST positive’ patients identified by paramedics using telemedicine, ensuring that stroke patients have direct access to specialist services, hyperacute treatment and specialist care and are managed in the most appropriate place to meet their needs.
Hannah’s appointment has also allowed her to work more closely with patients and their families and her dedication has not gone unnoticed, with lots of positive feedback, while her attention to detail, analytical skills, and ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues across departments have made her a unique asset.
There is no doubt her contributions to the ward and the stroke service will continue to be invaluable for years to come.
- Emma Wenn
- Stacey Turnbull
- Annabel Price
Apprentice / Trainee of the Year
Sponsored by: IHP
Winner: Paula Newman
Having recently begun her dental nurse training, Paula has, right from the start, been motivated by an eagerness to learn and do well and has consistently high standards of infection control, as well as in all aspects of her working activities.
Upholding the trust’s core values, she works confidently and competently with any grade of staff from third-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery students up to consultant level. While her effective time management and organisational skills in facilitating patient treatment, always ensure sessions run on time!
As part of a revision task set in the classroom, Paula created a game which was to identify the nerve supply to each of the upper / lower teeth and the type of injection required to anaesthetise those nerves for pain-free dental treatment. Spotted at a recent careers event, steps are now being taken to develop and patent it and make it available in the RVI nursing library.
Described as a ‘valuable member of the team who supports clinicians whilst offering the best care to her patients’ it’s clear Paula has a really bright future ahead of her in dentistry.
- Tony Waton
- Jacqueline Hemmer
Unsung Hero (Support and Corporate Services)
Sponsored by: Unison Newcastle
Winner: Ken Marshall
Having been a Newcastle Hospitals security officer for almost 20 years, it is fair to say Ken has dealt with some very challenging and stressful circumstances to keep staff and patients safe but it’s clear he is very much appreciated by the nominations received.
Working in our busy Emergency Department, he is often called upon to de-escalate situations and recently changed his working practices and undertook additional training to support patients with complex mental health needs if needed.
One of many examples given was how Ken engaged with an intoxicated patient who was having an acute mental health episode with care and compassion. A veteran himself, he found a common bond and created a connection, calmly talking to the patient and ensuring they received the care and attention needed.
On another occasion, he worked with the learning disability and clinical teams, to safely transfer a patient from her home to hospital and his input, dedication and leadership made it possible for clinicians to admit her as an inpatient and deliver the care needed.
Colleagues summed it up perfectly when they said: “Ken is a gem, a positive role model who calms the most challenging situations with care, a wealth of experience and by listening, understanding and not judging any individual he deals with.”
- Lisa Pattinson
- Keith Charman
- Sue Kelly
- Micki Short
- Gillian Wood
Team of the Year (Support and Corporate Services)
Winner: What Matters to You Team
Working alongside the Institute for Health Improvement (IHI), our What Matters to You programme aims to support and empower teams across Newcastle Hospitals to have more meaningful conversations, that inspire change.
The core team, including staff from education and workforce development and Newcastle Improvement, jointly developed a framework for implementation and delivery in the workplace that supports managers and their teams to bring joy in work.
Through this framework, teams come together and talk about what matters to them as individuals and as a team, collectively identifying and prioritising the things they want to improve and creating their own ideas to test and then implement.
As of May, there had been seven waves of training for managers completed and some simple examples of improvements that have made a real difference to teams include providing staff fleeces in pharmacy dispensaries, introducing a new process to provide more consistency to annual leave approval and setting up an ‘email
While the benefits to patients may seem less obvious, there is a direct link between quality and safety of healthcare and teams who are motivated. “Happier staff = Happier patients.”
- Security Team
- International Recruitment Team
- Trust Communications Team
Clinician of the Year (Frontline / Clinical / Clinical Support)
Sponsored by: Sintons
Winner: Jackie Rees
A nurse consultant for bladder and bowel care for over 20 years, Jackie ‘lit the spark’ and worked tirelessly to transform a small community continence service (inherited by Newcastle Hospitals from primary care trust days) into the specialist service it is today.
Her enthusiasm speaks volumes by the team’s notable list of achievements under Jackie’s leadership including setting up the service to offer assessment and treatment to patients for bladder and bowel health – rather than giving products as a first line treatment – and fostering collaborative working with many specialisms to promote continence care not incontinence management.
She has developed shared goals with our wider healthcare partners to provide education, prescribing and gold standard models of care, worked on quality improvement projects with positive patient outcomes and been instrumental in raising awareness of continence care and problem solving across the country.
This small but perfectly formed team of two nurses is now a team of four working across both acute and community – a pattern unique to us – and we are the only trust that has a service working across primary and secondary care, a testament to what Jackie has given to the service, her patients and colleagues both internally and externally.
- Eilis Moody
- Khadija Mohamed
- Margaret Burn
Team of the Year (Frontline / Clinical / Clinical Support)
Sponsored by: Oracle
Winner: North East Assisted Ventilation Service
This region-wide specialist team provides a range of services to a diverse patient group including long-term assisted ventilatory support, a cough assessment and therapy service, secretion management and high flow therapy at home.
Whether that’s providing support and training on ventilator devices to assist both acute covid responses and the newly established respiratory support unit at the RVI or developing a physiotherapy-led cough clinic to support long-term neurological patients, they have a long and impressive track record of service improvement.
On discovery that the rapid uptake of home ventilation in COPD was outstripping current clinic capacity, the team set up a nurse-led HOT-home mechanical ventilation clinic which has reduced patient waiting times for review and starting treatment, allowing earlier discharge home freeing up vital respiratory beds and preventing readmission.
And recognising the need for secretion management clinics, the team also commenced Botox clinic for excess salivation, leading to a joint bid for a HTA trial to define which part of the patient pathway Botox should be considered.
Other improvements include developing new MDT pathways, the region’s first high flow therapy at home service (allowing patients with severe respiratory disease to go home rather than spend their last few weeks of life in hospital) and providing support for patients on ventilation who require a PEG to be inserted. NEAVS is truly a team that puts the patient at the forefront of everything they do.
- Family Support Team / Children’s Community Nursing Team
- Stroke Nurse Practitioners
- Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Team
- Alcohol Care Team
Lifetime Achievement Award (NHS75)
Sponsored by: Stand
Winner: Asif Hasan
Humble and unassuming, Asif has dedicated his whole life to saving the lives of children and adults born with the most complex heart problems and defects.
Surgery that only a few years ago would have been deemed impossible is now a reality because of the skill, knowledge and expertise of this dedicated consultant paediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at the Freeman Hospital.
Throughout his long and exemplary career, he saved the lives of hundreds of patients and always has time for their families, offering a kind word of support and reassurance. Asif has never lost his passion for his work, continuing to learn, teach and excel at what he does.
In his multiple nominations Asif is described as an outstanding mentor to so many and a huge advocate of transplant, possessing a passion for his work that can only ignite the same passion in the teams who are lucky enough to work with him.
He semi-retired during the pandemic (exactly as he would want as he hates a big fuss) but his dedication and service to cardiothoracic surgery has helped to put Newcastle Hospitals on the map in this area of expertise.
“Having worked with Asif for many, many years. I can’t begin to explain what makes this man so special – he just is.”
- Jane Stewart
- Linda Flynn
- Jeff Potts
Chief Executive’s Award
Winner: Audrey Tapang
This award is given to a team or individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the Trust and demonstrates Newcastle Hospitals’ values of respect, integrity, teamwork and excellence.
Audrey joined our Newcastle Hospitals family in 2015 when she relocated from the Philippines to begin a nursing career in cardiothoracic intensive care.
Now our Senior Clinical Educator in International Recruitment, she has supported hundreds of nurses who have made the life-changing decision to move overseas to join us, taking them through the OSCE preparation process.
She is a leader… a mentor… and a friend to all and works tirelessly to ensure our new recruits have everything – and I mean everything – to get the best start they need.
Winner: Pam Yanez
Joining the NHS as a student nurse on the renal unit in 1974, she dedicated the next 40 years of her career to Newcastle Hospitals.
She’s been a senior sister on the Freeman Hospital’s haemodialysis ward, was the Northern Region’s first transplant co-ordinator, has received an OBE for services to healthcare and – as the directorate manager for urology and renal services – was instrumental in the planning and development of the Renal Services Centre and the Institute of Transplantation.
Her final achievement was securing agreement to procure a satellite dialysis clinic to provide care closer to home for patients but this is one of many – and if I listed them all we would be here all night!
Through her work with the team, dialysis has become an option for all instead of a few and transplantation is an everyday occurrence instead of a news headline.
Of course, even on her retirement she couldn’t leave us and for the last three years has been the Council of Governor’s lead governor, where she has made a significant impact in ensuring the governor voice is heard for the communities they represent.