University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust celebrated the extraordinary efforts of its staff at the 2022 Patient First STAR Awards at the Assembly Rooms in Worthing on Wednesday 25 May, 2022.
The awards, the first since the Trust was formed in April 2022, were attended by 300 NHS workers from across West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.
The winners were chosen from nominations made by colleagues, patients and the public and highlighted the breadth of innovation, compassion, dedication and heroism displayed by clinical and non-clinical staff throughout the pandemic.
Dr Andy Heeps, Chief Executive at UHSussex, said: “For more than two years, we haven’t been able to get together and celebrate the incredible hard work of our people, but last night was an opportunity to do just that. The level of dedication we’ve seen across our hospitals in response to Covid, in working to restore our services, in improving conditions for patients and in reducing our waiting lists has been absolutely extraordinary and presenting awards to colleagues was deeply humbling.”
The Awards evening was made possible thanks to charitable funding from the Love Your Hospital and BSUH Charities and corporate sponsorship from Wilmott Dixon Interiors.
There were 13 award categories
Mentor of the Year
For team leaders and managers committed to the professional development of their colleagues, or who regularly use coaching techniques to empower others.
The prize was awarded to Matthew Halford, Security Supervisor at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. He was described as someone who “always has door open for all his staff and always taking the time to listen and to help them as best he can, even if it is just providing a willing ear. If there is anything that he can do, Matt ensures that it is done.”
Environmental Sustainability Champion
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.
The winner was Sharmila Jeyasingh, a Consultant Paediatrician at The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, for her awareness about the environment and especially the impact medicine has on sustainability.
Innovator of the Year
For staff initiating or leading positive change, including new techniques, systems and partnerships, in line with the vision ‘where better never stops’.
The award went to Andrea Yeboah, a pelvic health physiotherapist at Worthing Hospital. Her innovations have led to the creation of a free, online Well-being and Exercise in Pregnancy programme for Obstetric patients, which is being embedded in a national project and available to all pregnant people across the whole of Sussex.
Clinical Team of the Year
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.
The winner was the Trust-wide Infection Prevention and Control Team, who have been the backbone of the Covid-19 pandemic response. They have supported colleagues across the Trust in all aspects of care to keep patients and staff as safe as possible at this most challenging of times.
Support Service 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.
The winning team was the Trust-wide Workforce Hub, which was hastily convened response to Covid, managing Covid absence, testing and risk assessments. They are the people who have been on the end of a phone or email for colleagues across the Trust who have needed guidance on isolating, returning to work and any other Covid absence issues and they have managed it all compassionately, professionally and with enormous patience and empathy.
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. It was such a popular category, nominations were divided into individuals and teams
The individual award was presented to Lisa Neeson, a nurse on Jowers Ward at the Royal Sussex County Hospital who came into work on her day off so a patient could go to his wife’s funeral. She had passed five days before he was admitted to hospital and it was important to him to be able to attend. Lisa came in a couple of hours before the funeral, and sat with the patient and chaplain, helped him get into his suit and shoes, made him look very smart while he was sharing stories about his wife.
The team award was presented to Birdham Ward at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester who took exceptional care of a young patient with a severe eating disorder, who was being fed by nasogastric tube. In all other respects, she was ready to move off ITU, but the ward team were concerned about managing her ongoing care.
The team held meetings with the consultant psychiatrist, ward sister, matron and the ITU team to figure out how they could support the patient on the ward. This prevented the patient having an extended stay in ITU.
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.
The prize went to Terrie Whiteside, deputy sister on Buckingham Ward at Worthing Hospital.
She was nominated by Sophie Lloyd, who, in her nomination, talked about the uncertainty of Covid and the impact on morale of the ward changing from red to green and back again. She said:
“Terrie pulled us through. Terrie remained calm, collected and a constant source of humour and laughs. She inspired us to keep going and to support each other.
“Over Christmas she decorated the ward with 50 Santa stockings, one for each staff member, with their name glittered on and chocolate inside.
“When a patient was in the final weeks of their life she organised a wedding on Buckingham ward so they could get married. Another patient who had been in the RAF and had become agitated, she ensured he had his beret and played him old films until he was calm. She cares in ways above and beyond all expectations. This extends to her staff as well.”
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.
The prize was awarded to Colin West, a volunteer at St Richard’s hospital. His colleagues described him as “willing to do anything asked of him and always eager to learn new skills, so he can put them to use to ensure all patients receive the best possible service.”
Charities Champion of the Year
For staff and volunteers that have supported the charities, Love your Hospital and BSUH Charity, with their time, resource and expertise as well as fundraising to raise money for our hospitals.
The award was presented to David Hill, the Chaplain at Worthing Hospital who has always been a real champion of Love Your Hospital, getting involved with fundraising initiatives and supporting events. In 2020, David and his wife Sandra, donated more than £100,000 and commissioned the redesign and creation of the amazing new Serenity garden at Worthing in loving memory of their sons, Jason and Stuart.
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.
It was awarded to Fran Humberstone, a midwife at St Richard’s Hospital. She was nominated by a patient for providing truly outstanding care. The patient said:
“Fran is a person with pure heart and should be a role model for anyone in healthcare. She swapped her rota after my daughters still birth to be able to care for me in the hospital. She came and visited me during lunch break after she found out my daughter had died.
“And although she changed her role, she still took me under her wing (at my request) as a midwife during my current pregnancy to give me a continuation of care. She is simply the most caring health care provider I have ever experienced.”
The Trust Governors gave their prize to the Trust-wide Estates Team, who worked at pace to get the hospitals ready for Covid, enabling the red and green pathways, repositioning A&E Minors, creating new ward areas and reconfiguring Emergency Departments across a number of sites.
The Trust Chairman, Alan McCarthy, recognised the Trust-wide Covid-19 vaccination hubs, saying “The team who orchestrated the vaccination hubs were phenomenal. The task was huge and pulled together at the most incredible speed. A huge amount of detail was required, not only in creating training for vaccinators, support for pharmacists and support staff, but also in managing a new system, which included appointments and vaccination details.
“The early days of the vaccination programme were hugely pressurised with the second wave hitting its peak in early 2021. There was a heightened sense of emotion and anxiety among colleagues from across the Trust as well as health and social care colleagues from across the ICS who were eager to receive their first vaccination.
“The dedication, professionalism and can do attitude of the team was truly exceptional. Every member went the extra mile as they knew that every jab had the potential to save a life.”
The Chairman then presented a special award to Dame Marianne Griffiths, former Chief Executive of UHSussex, for a Lifetime’s Achievement, saying: “Through her years of loyal and inspirational service, she oversaw sustained improvements that led to our legacy trusts attaining the very highest standards of patient care, winning accolades along the way, managing our budgets and securing our reputation as truly outstanding.”