We were delighted to receive more than 1,100 nominations for this year’s Patient First STAR Awards and are excited to share the shortlisted individuals and teams.
Our annual award ceremony is for our hardworking staff and volunteers who embody the ideals of our Patient First programme. This is focused on building the culture and systems we need to continue improving and re-thinking the way we work to make sure all our patients receive the same excellent standards of care.
Each of this year’s award categories reflects one or more of the qualities behind that ambition, from kindness and compassion to innovation, commitment and exemplary standards of care on the frontline and within our support services.
Meet the finalists, who will be in attendance at the ceremony to find out who has been crowned the winner in each category, and read some of the nominations they received.
Finalists by award category
Mentor of the Year
This award is for team leaders and managers committed to the professional development of their colleagues, or who regularly use coaching techniques to empower others.
Staff Grade Anaesthetist, St Richard’s Hospital
Nominated by Dr Hannah Rose, Sophie Clarke, and Katie Wichmann
“He is excellent at supporting and teaching trainees and takes the time to ensure that learning needs and opportunities are met. He has been an inspiration to work with and is an example to us all of a lifetime of dedication to working within the NHS.”
“He is very supportive of our trainee anaesthetists. Patient, kind, supportive and encouraging. Actively engages in verbal and written feedback to help give constructive advice to trainees.”
Physiotherapist, Worthing Hospital
Nominated by Ruth Wakefield, Carla Price and Anne Eisenthal
“Helen has a wonderful way of bringing across her years of wisdom and knowledge and making it seem simplistic. She is a calming influence on a team that look to her for guidance.”
“Helen has always seen the bigger picture of what it truly means to be an inspirational leader. She has created an incredible legacy of people who believe in themselves enough to take a leap of faith! I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Helen.”
Muhammad S Sajid
Consultant, Royal Sussex County Hospital
Nominated by Donna Ellett, Annam Sufi, Nada Elzahed, Amila Indumini Jayasekera, Emo Nemes, Muhammad Salam Shafique, Irtesam Tahir, Dr Abdul Malik Magsi, Musab Bin Umair, Wei Hann Toh, Zulaikha Khatun Yasir, and Lottie Washer
“Mr Sajid is a great mentor to the FY1 doctors. He provides opportunities to the juniors to get involved in research and audits. He teaches on the ward rounds which is valuable to our training. He goes above and beyond and is dedicated to teaching and mentoring. He is approachable and a great mentor.”
Environmental Sustainability Champion of the Year
This award is for staff helping to ensure the sustainability of the Trust’s quality of care, services, finances, achievements or reputation, and assisting it to adapt to future challenges.
Clinical Research Practitioner, Royal Sussex County Hospital
Nominated by Justina Strikaite
“She takes tetra packs home to recycle them properly. She is creating recycling spaces in our department. She is constantly sorting stuff out. Nurses can go and ask her anything about recycling, how to dispose items correctly, where to find help and what to do.”
Communications Environment Campaign Team
Nominated by Laura Donaldson
“Jess Kemp devised and led the environment week campaign, coordinating skills and resources within the comms team to deliver a successful series of communications to showcase the Trust’s commitment to and progress in environmental sustainability.
“We fulfilled our aims to celebrate, educate and involve stakeholders in the progress of our Green Plan. We highlighted our leadership through events such as Gloves Off, which attracted the attention of the BBC, and other NHS organisations. The (green) workstreams demonstrated the important role they all play in achieving our aims – and collaborated for the first time to deliver a fantastic week of celebration involving local partner organisations. We shared the simple ways staff and patients can all make changes, and colleagues responded with nearly 200 pledges received.”
Healthcare Assistant on Ansty Ward, Princess Royal Hospital
Nominated by Emily Draper
“Hayley is passionate about the environment and reducing our team’s impact on it. She has utilised PFIS improvement huddles to drive a move to re-use and clean our plastic overnight catheter bag stands which had been used as single patient use but were designed to be re-used.
“This has significantly reduced the number of stands we use and is reducing our carbon footprint and impact on the planet.”
Innovator of the Year
This award is for staff initiating or leading positive change, including new techniques, systems and partnerships, in line with the vision ‘where better never stops’.
Colorectal Faster Diagnosis Service
Cancer Services, Worthing and St Richard’s hospitals
Nominated by Rose Hesling
“The team review and assess more than 75% of patients who are referred with suspected cancers of the lower gastrointestinal tract. Not only improving patient flow but also ensuring patients are being diagnosed or having cancer ruled out as quickly as possible improving experience in an extremely stressful time and outcomes with earlier diagnosis.
“This service is truly innovative and groundbreaking giving a new way in which we are able to deliver cancer care, expediting pathways and ultimately improving patient experience and outcomes.”
Matron for Practice Development and Education, Worthing Hospital
Nominated by Tricia Rigby
“Jess joined the Practice Development Team initially working on a project to set up a UHSussex School of Nursing in collaboration with the University of Chichester. Jess had to quickly navigate bringing together a group of people both academic, clinical, and strategic to ensure that the project succeeded in a very short time. The School of Nursing and AHPs is now an incredible success, providing us with a workforce for the future and would categorically not been the success it is without her.
“An important thing in being an innovator is role modelling passion and meaning in what you do and Jess is so passionate about her job and her team.”
Healthcare Assistant, Royal Sussex County Hospital
Nominated by Lynn Helyer
“With more referrals than appointments available, Mel helped reduce this growing list and played a key role in introducing and delivering weekend clinics to make sure patients could be seen quicker.
“The clinics helped cut the number of people waiting for a liver fibroscan from over 750 in March 2022 to less than 90 by the end of the year. Mel’s dedication to reducing the waiting list has truly embodied putting the patient first and foremost.”
Matron for Practice Development and Education, Royal Sussex County Hospital
Nominated by Katrina Marisse dela Vina
“Our preceptorship team is new and young (less than a year) but it is being led with so much passion and excellence by our matron, Mel. She has been working very hard to align our preceptorship programmes (legacy west and legacy east) with the merger.
“Mel has put in place regular monthly catch-ups with the lead for each of the legacy sites, team away days, and an open-door policy on supporting the team. In our regular catch-ups, she always asks if there is anything that we want to change about how she supports us. I feel that this is really important and is a great influence on how we manage the people we support and line manage (preceptees, preceptors, educators, ward managers, and other members of my preceptorship team).”
Clinical Team of the Year
This award is for a team that has triumphed in the face of adversity, or pulled together to maintain care, quality or performance in defiance of extraordinary pressures.
Royal Sussex County Hospital
Nominated by Nathalie Pearson
“They always strive together to provide excellent focused patient care, they are patient, kind and go above and beyond. For example, buying toiletries for patients, and bringing in clothes for patients that do not have any and delivering the Metro paper in the morning.
“They have adapted the way of working and embraced our stroke step down patients over the last five years and more recently they are learning new neurology skills with a view to moving into the Louisa Martindale Building and work in Neurology as it moves over from the Princess Royal.”
Covid Medicines Delivery Unit
Nominated by Michael Cross
“The CMDU team was formed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to be a highly responsive team delivering early treatment to patients out in the community for Covid-19. The service served the whole of Sussex and has delivered more than 4,000 treatments, keeping patients out of hospital and preventing deterioration.
“They did this at short notice when already tired and built a highly complex system to enable time critical assessment and treatment. The system has been commended and copied nationally.”
Nominated by Emma Chambers
“In the midst of extreme workforce challenges and intense pressures on many shifts in December 2022, the service received a warning notice from the CQC. The teams within the service responded to this collaboratively, with a palpable desire to improve quality of the service. The requirements of the warning notice were met when the CQC revisited in April. Their feedback was very positive and they could see and feel the improvements made.
“This was achieved by the hard work and commitment of the entire team, as well as through support from corporate services such as clinical education. The improvements have been sustained – feedback from users of our services is overwhelmingly positive. We were able to declare 99.3% compliance with the safety actions of the Maternity Incentive Scheme.
“Many specialities contribute to maternity services, midwifery, support workers, nursery nurses, registered nurses, obstetricians, anaesthetists, neonatal nursing and medical teams. It is testament to the hard work and commitment of all these staff that the service has seen such improvement in a short space of time. Thank you to everyone involved.”
Pre-Operative Assessment Team
St Richard’s Hospital
Nominated by Liene Sapele
“The team has successfully supported reduction of waiting lists by assertive and proactive new ways of working and putting patients need at the forefront of their service as well as collaborative work with other specialities.
“Everyone has taken an active part in proposing and implementing new ideas to improve service delivery. Each team member has shown care and compassion to all their patients on a day-to-day basis. Many compliments and appreciation for the team has been received through letters, feedback forms and cards.”
Non-clinical Team of the Year
This award recognises a team whose work plays a key role in supporting the Trust to deliver outstanding care and service to patients, staff and visitors.
Electrical & Biomedical Engineering (EBME) Team
Princess Royal Hospital
Nominated by Mark Sargent on behalf of the Neurophysiology Service
“As a regional service we utilise unusual and complex equipment and we need to have the confidence on a day-to-day basis that should a fault occur, it will be fixed promptly without disrupting patient care. Thankfully our EBME team fill us with this confidence, and more. We have not had a problem yet that they haven’t been able to fix.
“They have given unwavering support and dedication to keeping the neurophysiology service operational and smoothly running with very little, if any, downtime throughout our 75 years at Hurstwood Park, and thus contributing to the excellent patient care given by the unit.”
Pharmacy Purchasing Team
Worthing and St Richard’s hospitals
Nominated by Craig Kenward
“The pharmacy procurement team have for many years been the unsung heroes of patient care. They play an absolutely critical role in patient care by ensuring that over 4000 different medicines from over 300 suppliers are available in the Trust when they are needed.
“Although they are far removed from the frontline, they are always aware of the impact that it could have on a patient if the medicine they need is not available. They apply 100% dedication and commitment to their work, exemplifying a patient first approach.
“Altogether, they are an amazing team working quietly, but diligently in the background for patients. They are part of the backbone of NHS and should be recognised for both their critical role and the outstanding way they put patients first every day.”
Nominated by Melanie Armstrong
“The team is not merely hardworking and innovative; they demonstrate our trust values on a daily basis. At a time when the workforce is the greatest challenge facing the NHS, they play a huge role in the retention and career development of our early career nurses.
“The large numbers of internationally educated nurses employed by the Trust in the last two years have posed a huge logistical challenge for such a small team, but they have risen to it with typical enthusiasm and learned so much about different cultures and nursing in other healthcare systems. From extra support with communication to advocating “cultural buddies” for new overseas nurses, the team always does their utmost to promote equity and inclusion.”
This award is for staff who go beyond normal expectations to care for patients with exceptional kindness, dignity and respect, epitomising the Trust’s vision.
Ward Sister on Petworth Ward, St Richard’s Hospital
Nominated by Julie Thomas and Dr Bethia Bradley
“The ward organised a wedding for an inpatient approaching the end of their life who wished to get married. Caroline ensured this wish was granted, going above and beyond to make this moment private and magical. The patient was able to marry their partner of 18 years, feel special and very much loved. The joy and happiness this brought them was next to none. This is just one example of the way Caroline goes the extra mile to give the highest care to her patients and their relatives.”
“As well as her advanced knowledge and skills, Caroline has always shown amazing care and compassion to patients, their relatives and also importantly her nursing, medical and other MDT members.”
A&E Sister, St Richard’s Hospital
Nominated by Steve Hite
“Security were recently called to assist staff with a violent female mental health patient. Ellie held the patient’s hand while a colleague and I used safe holds to prevent the patient from assaulting any more staff.
“It was awe inspiring to see how Ellie calmed her down to the point that we were able to release our holds. Ellie interacted with the patient in a way that we do not often see in a busy department. She was a marvel in calming the patient and reassuring her that she was safe and okay, and I simply do not have enough words in praise for what she achieved that day.”
Upper GI Nurse Specialist, St Richard’s Hospital
Nominated by Zoe Geere
“Katie regularly goes above and beyond for her patients and colleagues but there is one particular situation which epitomises the Trust’s values and demonstrates a huge amount of kindness, care and compassion.
“A patient with a cancer diagnosis and poor prognosis was admitted to St Richard’s and then transferred to Portsmouth Hospital for an operation. The operation was unsuccessful and the patient was deteriorating. Katie went above and beyond to liaise with both bed managers and the ward at St Richard’s Hospital to get them transferred back to St Richard’s Hospital to be closer to loved ones. She arranged a Macmillan grant, which would have relieved some financial anxiety, and linked the patient in with the homeless liaison officer at the hospital.
“I feel Katie’s non-judgemental holistic approach to this situation needs to be celebrated. She excelled in acting as the patient’s advocate and worked tirelessly to ensure the patient had the opportunity to see her loved ones at the end of their life.”
Volunteer of the Year
This award is for volunteers who have made a major difference to a patient, relative, colleague or team through their community-spirited commitment to serving their local hospital.
David ‘Rocky’ Rochester
Volunteer at Princess Royal Hospital
Nominated by Patrycja Zimerska, Larissa Leonardi Lara, Agnes Hunt, Glenn Mendoza
“Over the 12 years that I have worked in the Trust, and met loads of people, Rocky is the one who stayed in my mind and heart. He is absolutely hardworking, dedicated, most caring, kindest and the most perfect person you would like to meet.
“Always smiling, always caring, always loving. No wonder everyone loves him in return. He is an absolute dream to work with. Lastly, everyone who meets him agrees that he is truly a star.”
Volunteer at St Richard’s Hospital
Nominated by Liene Sapele
“John has worked as a volunteer in St Richard’s Hospital for over 10 years. His commitment to his role has been exemplary and his presence and support has made a big difference to our patients and team. This is reflected by multiple compliments and feedback provided by patients and staff members.
“John has gone above and beyond his duties to support vulnerable groups of orthopaedic patients attending their pre-operative assessment before surgery. Patients are finding it difficult getting to their examinations, tests and assessments within the department due to poor mobility. He has taken great care to accompany and assist them with all transfers to ensure timely attendance and even staying longer than his booked time to ensure everyone has been taken care of.”
This award is for staff who are the jewel in their team, whose drive, enthusiasm or good sense of humour inspires those around them, especially at times of difficulty or stress.
Occupational Therapy Team Leader, Worthing Hospital
Nominated by Jenny Alderton
“Crystal is an integral member of the team, an empathic leader whose sense of humour, drive, and enthusiasm enables the whole team to manage in stressful times. Her attitude is unfailing, always focused on what she can do to support the team, our patients/their families, our colleagues, and our managers.
“Crystal advocates and enables change, even when the team has reservations. She works alongside us to help us through the changes and leads by example. Team wellbeing is hugely important to Crystal, and she always has the team at the forefront of her mind.”
Pathology IT Support Technician, Worthing Hospital
Nominated by Sarah Wilkins, Katharine Chegwidden, Isabel Arksey, Paul Beck, Ashley Jones, Danielle Smart, Celia Billett, James Hall, Connor McHale, Laura Booth, Jasmine Grantham, and Erin Wilson-Phillips
“Gareth is our ‘Hero’. His round the clock support for all staff is unfailing. He cares about his team and is there to support 100% of the time. Pathology cannot run without IT – it is essential for the service. He has supported the department with the implementation of Careflow and ICE.
“He was our absolute hero in December when we lost Pathology IT for a few days when the servers went down. Many of the department worked long hours, including Gareth, helping us to not only maintain a service and report results, but he liaised with the LIMS operator to help get the department back up and running.”
Nominated by Rachel Woolfenden
“They have been faced with several challenges in the past few months and have responded to them with tenacity and determination to ensure that patients and their families are treated with dignity and respect at all times.
“In October 2022, a programme of refurbishment was started in the post-mortem room in the Worthing mortuary. During this period the team worked incredibly flexibly, moving across sites where needed to ensure all departments were staffed with the best configuration that could be achieved with the limited resource available, and often working considerably in excess of their normal working hours.”
Plastic Surgery Clinical Nurse Specialist, Royal Sussex County Hospital
Nominated by John Charles Marchment
“Nicola has been with me throughout my treatment and provided excellent care. She has appeared on the ward at 7am to redo my dressings and has always been available since my discharge from hospital for any questions I have had.
“She has encouraged me to self-manage my wound care when appropriate. My appointments with her in outpatients were nearly always on time and for any patient her jovial outlook is a real morale booster. One day after an appointment when my return transport was delayed by some hours, she stayed with me until 7pm without complaint. I know from talking to fellow patients that this is her default ‘modus operandi’.”
Fundraiser of the Year
This award is for staff and volunteers that have supported the charities, Love Your Hospital and BSUH Charity, (now collectively known as My University Hospitals Sussex) with their time, resource and expertise as well as fundraising to raise money for our hospitals.
Ride Across Britain Team
Nominated by John Price
“Tim Martingdale, Gideon Sherwood and Pete Basford cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats in September 2022 to raise money for Love Your Hospital, the charity supporting our local hospitals in Chichester, Worthing and Southlands.
“This is a mammoth cycle ride over nine days with a minimum of 101 miles per day, and a maximum of 119. Whilst taking in some truly awe-inspiring scenery including Cheddar Gorge, Shap Fell, the Cairngorms and Glenshee, they have raised in excess of £8,500 to help purchase equipment to support our local NHS hospitals.”
Nominated by Steph Kirby
“A brave group of UHSussex staff and volunteers took to the skies in August 2022 to undertake an exhilarating skydive challenge to raise funds to support patient care across our hospitals. Together, the daredevil group raised a fantastic £5,600 for Love Your Hospital and BSUH Charity.
“Jumping from either 10,000 or 15,000ft, the skydivers faced their fears and were rewarded with some spectacular views across the historic Salisbury plains. For many, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and one inspired by personal experience. One of the skydivers, Leah Ashley, said, “I have been volunteering with the NHS for over four years and I have seen how incredibly hard the staff work and wanted to do something to say thank you.”
Trolley Push Team
Nominated by Steph Kirby
“In April 2022, a small but mighty team of UHSussex staff and students took on a special running challenge – pushing a mock hospital trolley around the entire 26.2 mile Brighton Marathon course, to raise funds for Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH) A&E.
“The team began training for this challenge back in 2019-2020, but Covid-19 meant their plans were delayed for a couple of years. The team kept up their training to remain match fit to finally complete the marathon push in 2022.
“Together the team raised £5,648.25 for RSCH A&E. The funds raised are being used to enhance the ED at RSCH through improvements such as installing ambient lighting and LCD ceiling light panels with scenic views.”
Star of the Year
The Star of the Year award is selected from those named as Star of the Month and provides an opportunity for any member of staff, bank worker or volunteer across the organisation, in all areas to be recognised for their efforts.
Pharmacy Technician at Worthing Hospital
Star of the Month winner November 2022
“Some of our older, more frail cancer-trial patients have their medicines delivered to their home. Strict trial protocol rules mean there is often a small time-frame from when the prescription is issued to when the next dose is due.
“Abi took ownership of the situation, ensured the medicines were dispensed and then delivered them personally.”
Physiotherapist at Worthing Hospital
Star of the Month winner July 2022
“Bella’s quick thinking and kind-hearted actions most likely saved my life and the life of my baby. My husband and I will be forever grateful that she went above and beyond her role with recognising my symptoms of severe pre-eclampsia and getting me the urgent care that I needed.
“Thank you so much Bella, you are amazing.”
Clementina Santofimio Gonzalez
Housekeeper at Royal Sussex County Hospital
Star of the Month winner August 2022
“The department was full of patients, staff, associated staff, and equipment. (Clementina) took every opportunity she could to get into crowded spaces to clean. She was scrupulous in her attention to detail, her work ethic and general demeanour.
“I wish to nominate her for her diligence, work ethic and calmness in chaos. She was amazing, polite to staff patients and visitors”.
Star of the Month winner June 2022
“I have seen first-hand the huge achievements the finance team have had over the past year.
“Often the work of the finance team is unseen across the wider organisation, but they make a substantial contribution to the achievement of True North and Breakthrough objectives enabling the organisation to deliver the best possible care to our patients.”
St Richard’s Hospital
Star of the Month winner October 2022
“This is the most impressive team, who have over the years demonstrated their commitment and dedication to delivering a responsive and high-quality service to our patients.”
Star of the Month winner December 2022
“The day after the ambulance strikes on Thursday 22 December 2022, patient demand in Worthing Emergency Department was unprecedented. With their help, we were able to source beds, air mattresses, pillows, linen, screens, and tables to create temporary space for patients to be treated.
“No complaints, just willingness, solution-focus and understated excellence – they are the heartbeat of the hospital system, and their work makes a huge difference to patient dignity, experience and care.”
Princess Royal Hospital
Star of the Month winner September 2022
“Stephen told me the kitchen was closing and not normally able to provide any hot meals. However, he would arrange for a frozen meal to be prepared if one of us was able to collect.
“I went to the kitchen to realise that it was indeed closed, and that Stephen was going above and beyond his duty at that time. We all know how important it is to leave on time after a long day, but Stephen was kind to still prepare this meal and even added a nice pudding.
“The patient was thrilled when I gave him his meal and the plate was completely cleaned at the end. The happy expression on this gentleman had no price and it was all down to the kindness of another hard-working colleague.”