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Excellence Awards for amazing individuals and teams who helped us deliver great care during the COVID-19 pandemic

MR1307 Excellence Awards 2021 logo

The compassionate, caring and innovative efforts of individuals and teams at Kettering and Northampton general hospitals were celebrated last night (Thursday, November 25). Both hospitals held virtual Excellence Awards ceremonies to mark the achievements.

The compassionate, caring and innovative efforts of individuals and teams at Kettering and Northampton general hospitals were celebrated last night (Thursday, November 25). Both hospitals held virtual Excellence Awards ceremonies to mark the achievements of staff after a year of coping with the global pandemic.

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

University Hospitals of Northamptonshire Group Chief Executive Simon Weldon said: “After the most difficult year in the NHS’s history I was extremely proud to mark the achievements of our individuals, teams and volunteers who have served their local communities so well.

“The nominations we received demonstrate so many examples of the extraordinary dedication, compassion, and commitment that go into the care and support we provide.

“Picking winners was incredibly difficult and I would like to thank everyone who was nominated and shortlisted as well as the winners themselves who should be very proud of their achievements.”


Among Kettering General Hospital’s 11 winners were the A&E team, a lead nurse who supported scores of COVID patients and their families, and a midwife who supported an anxious mum during pregnancy, who had lost a son in an earlier pregnancy.

Kettering’s Hospital Chief Executive Deborah Needham said: “I am proud and humbled at the strength and depth of the amazing nominations that we received for this year’s awards.

“So many of our staff and volunteers have worked so hard and unsparingly to support their local communities, and each other. It was a very emotional awards night.”


Among Northampton General’s 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, and teams and individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty to support patients and colleagues during the pandemic.

Northampton Hospital 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.

“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.”


The winners will all receive trophies and their achievements will be celebrated across the two Trusts.


MR1307 NGH

The award categories and winners at Northampton General Hospital were:

Caring through COVID team award

Winner: 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. They are excellent – all angels.

Caring through COVID individual award

Winner: Basel Alouanti, Consultant Microbiologist - He has supported the hospital throughout the pandemic and was on call for 24 hours a day 7 days a week as the only Microbiologist for much of this time. No one has worked as many hours as Basel and he never complains about anything.

Patient experience award.

Winner: Dr Aron Sraj, Consultant Radiologist - For the way he investigated and supported a lady with a benign biopsy result but who, on further investigation, had early stage breast cancer. The lady’s nomination reads: “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: 

Winner: Occupational Health - 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. The Occupational Health team support their colleagues throughout their NGH journey with compassion, professionalism and smiles.

Non-clinical team of the year award

Winner: Pathology - The staff are integral for the functioning of the hospital and without us 85% of the diagnosis would not occur. Pathology rarely gets the accolade it deserves, and I believe now is the time to appreciate how hard the department works as we are very often forgotten amongst our peers. It would be a disservice if Pathology is not recognised as a backbone for the hospital.

Respect, support and inclusion award

Winner: Megan Gibbons, Healthcare Assistant – For her support for a new International Staff Nurse 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 there was somebody who stands out, Megan. 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. Her compassion, respect and courageous display of humanity deserves to be recognized.”

Research and innovation award

Winner: Rosie Griffiths, Dispensary Manager, and Siobhan Abrahams, Advanced Pharmacist for Emergency Medicine – Who have invented and successfully rolled out across NGH, a Controlled Drug Measurement Ruler.  The ruler has been Trademarked and NGH will be commercialised through a licence deal. .  This will save Nurses time each day by improving the way a controlled drug is measured and provide governance teams with additional reassurance on the management of Controlled Drugs.

Volunteer of the Year

WinnerVal Eldridge, NGH Volunteers - Val has taken to volunteering like a duck to water. There have been many times Val has given extra hours when the volunteers were low on numbers. Doing 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. The amount of compassion she has for others is overwhelming and really makes a positive impact to everyone when she is on shift.

Unsung Hero Clinical – Joint Winners

Winner: Sorrelle Benham-Facer – Assistant Mammographic Practitioner - Sorrelle's technical ability is outstanding, consistently having the best performance score amongst her colleagues in our unit and throughout our region. This ensures that her patients never need extra images to be performed, saving them any further physical discomfort and psychological distress. Overall Sorrelle is a shining example to us all of how to be a good colleague and patient advocate, working quietly and efficiently to ensure successful outcomes in every sphere with which she is involved.

Winner: Michelle Sandilands, Senior Paediatric Audiologist – For supporting a family whose 16-year-old son suddenly lost his hearing. “Michelle was great from the onset. No infection was found but confirmed a substantial hearing loss, she therefore tracked an ENT consultant down who reviewed the situation and explained my son would be treated as a medical emergency as he felt he had a neuro virus that needed immediate treatment to try and save his hearing.  I felt totally supported by her and the audiology dept. - especially as I'd been made aware that if I hadn't acted and called them and if Michelle hadn't managed to get a ENT review, it could have led to permanent hearing loss.”

Unsung Hero Award (Non-Clinical)

Winner: 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 - 

Winner: Liz Summers, Macmillan Lead Nurse - Throughout the pandemic Liz has inspired her team. She led the 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. She is humble and whenever you thank her she always directs the praise to her team. She is truly an inspirational colleague and doesn't see the true value of herself.

Best use of charitable funds award

Winner: Kerry Messam, Specialist Nurse Practitioner – For undertaking an initiative called "Walking the Walk" which looks at the lived experience of relatives or carers visiting a dying loved one in hospital.  This has included having comfort packs and specially equipped side rooms in the wards to help relatives, particularly those who have travelled a long distance, to support dying patients.


MR1307 KGH Main Front View

The award categories and winners at Kettering General Hospital were:

Caring through COVID individual award.

Winner: Sister Julie Danns, Lead Nurse for Home Oxygen - For working long hours throughout the pandemic to support her patients – many of whom were suffering from COVID. Hard-working, caring and passionate she always puts others before herself and her patients were always at the forefront of her mind. A colleague nomination read: “Her dedication to helping patients through this pandemic has been phenomenal, she is a thoroughly dedicated nurse who has made a difference to the lives of many patients and deserves recognition.” Julie helped patients of all ages, including the dying, and supported their relatives.


Caring through COVID team award.

Winner: The Emergency Department (A&E) - For providing excellent care and support for patients and relatives during the pandemic. Very busy, adapting to ever changing COVID guidance, incredible team work, coping with very significant demand pressure, and ensuring patients felt safe in their care. A fabulous team.


Patient experience award.

Winner: Midwife Michelle Paladino - For the way she supported and reassured a mum during her pregnancy – a mum who had previously lost her son during an earlier pregnancy and hence was extremely anxious. This included weekly visits and phone calls. Her nominator said: “I wouldn’t have gotten through this pregnancy without Michelle. She has just been amazing.”


Respect, support and inclusion award.

Winner: Sreejith Nair, Clinical Skills and Simulation Trainer – Also a Freedom to Speak Up Champion, Race Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage (REACH) Co-Chair and Staff Governor, who is always willing to give that extra mile to his colleagues and definitely have made a big difference in the well-being of the staff.


Research and innovation award. 

Winner: Dr Mohammed El-Din, Associate Specialist Cardiology - For setting up an innovative post Myocardial Infarction Clinic over the past year. A service which has meant patients who have had heart attacks are quickly followed up and seen by a dedicated team who check on their progress, listen to their concerns, and support them with their all-important medications.


Volunteer of the year award.

Winner: #We Care Volunteers - These individuals undertook varying roles during all of the phases of the pandemic. They unloaded lorries with more than 300,000 items donated into the Trust, and distributed them, alongside many meals, in a seven-day a week service. They ran the #We Care Cafe so that our exhausted colleagues could have a welcome break. They were made up of members of the local community and members of staff supporting their colleagues.


Inspirational colleague award.

Winner: Phillip Musiiwa, Sonographer - The most helpful, kind and consistent colleague you could ever wish to work with. He has a zen-like calmness, unerring professionalism and will always do his best to help and accommodate patients at short notice. He takes everything in his stride and doesn't even expect thanks. He recently said to me, "If we are not here to do our best to help people, then why are we here?"


Best use of charitable funds award.

Winner: Karen Danns, Matron for Haematology and Oncology - For getting Plum Pumps – devices that enable chemotherapy patients to two streams of medication simultaneously – a move which has enhanced safety and is the gold standard for chemotherapy care.


Team of the Year.

Winner: The Staff Covid Testing Team - The staff swabbing team go above and beyond every day to ensure staff, their family members and patients are swabbed quickly, efficiently and with care, Because of this team KGH is able to provide a gold standard service to staff ensuring they can be tested immediately and get their results back within 24 hours - truly unparalleled service.


Unsung Hero Non-Clinical

Winner: Wendy Height, Administrator- Who found an elderly gentleman who was distressed and confused and had been separated from his wife. She took the time out to keep him safe and find those who had treated him and his family.


Unsung hero (Clinical)

Winner: Lauren Johnson, Staff Nurse - Was nominated by a patient who she looked after for over two days and who witnessed her care of other patients. “There are actually no words to describe how amazing this nurse is but I will try my best. She has the whole package - showing compassion, enthusiasm, care, understanding, respect, calmness, dedication the list could go on and on.”

Posted on Friday 26th November 2021
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