It truly was a night to celebrate staff achievements across the South Eastern HSC Trust with many staff picking up a number of awards at ceremonies held across Belfast recognising the hard work, dedication, and commitment of Health and Social Care staff.
The Europa Hotel in Belfast was the setting for the Northern Ireland Healthcare Awards where staff from the Trust scooped five awards.
The Outpatient COVID-19 Treatment Centre Team picked up the award for Innovations in Infections Management in Secondary Care for setting up a new service delivering neutralising monoclonal antibiotics (nMABs) and antivirals for non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19 who are at high risk of developing severe disease. The service became operational, with nMAB clinics running three days per week and the supply of oral anti-viral medicines provided seven days per week.
The Developments in the Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) was presented to the IBD Nursing Service Team within the Trust for their response to COVID-19 imposed obstacles. The team remained committed to reducing risks, while simultaneously providing patients with the best IBD nursing service possible.
To achieve this, they changed their clinics to virtual appointments where possible, mainly via telephone, yet retained their face-to-face appointments for those who required them. Further ensuring that measures were as safe as possible, the team liaised with GPs with regards to changes required in medications, and were able to increase their use of faecal calprotectin testing to keep a close eye on inflammation levels.
The Ambulatory Respiratory Hub Team scooped the Asthma/COPD Project of the Year for the implementation of a ‘Ambulatory Respiratory Hub’ service which was piloted in 2015 and then opened late 2016 as a three-person team including a Respiratory Consultant, Respiratory Specialist Nurse and an Advanced Practitioner Physiotherapist.
The service provides rapid diagnostics and treatment for any respiratory condition and undiagnosed respiratory symptoms, in a consultant-led but multidisciplinary setting, without the need for hospitalisation. The service has expanded over the past two years, while a new additional satellite hub opened in Lagan Valley Hospital in 2020 due to demand, with the service now open to all GPs.
The Ankylosing Spondylitis Team were awarded the Innovation in Rheumatology Service Award. The team recognised the value of the specialised physiotherapy ankylosing spondylitis clinic already in place and the potential to fast-track referrals of new patients for treatment. New referrals of likely ankylosing spondylitis patients were fast-tracked for investigations, including imaging, blood tests and physiotherapy assessment.
New cases where there was diagnostic uncertainty, significant comorbidity or extra-articular disease were transferred to a medical clinic for follow-up. A new ankylosing spondylitis multidisciplinary clinic was set up to enable patients to see the physiotherapist, nurse specialist and consultant if required at a single appointment.
The Special COVID-19 Achievement Award went to the Cardiac Hub Team for the delivery of cardiac services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cardiac hub was established as a consultant-led service that provides rapid access to cardiac investigations and doctor / specialist nurse review.
It is open five days per week, 8am-to-6pm, and is available to emergency department patients and both those in primary and secondary care. Patients could be referred into the hub after consultant assessment on post-take ward round, while patients may also attend directly from the emergency department on the day of presentation, or be discharged with an appointment within five working days. The hub is the ‘epicentre’ of a multifaceted service that provides – among many other elements of care – cardiology assessment (face-to-face) with dedicated pharmacy support.
Across town at the Northern Ireland Health & Social Care Awards held in the Crowne Plaza, the Trust had three winners and two highly commended awards. The GP Practice/Healthcare Centre of the Year was awarded to Healthcare in Prison for the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the prison setting which had an average uptake of 75% which is one of the highest uptakes across Europe and the integrated care approach across all services available in the prison and for the diversification of the workforce.
Kerryann Greer, Paediatric Specialist Physiotherapist was successful in the Excellence in Allied Health Category. As an advocate for early intervention, Kerryann recognised the value in dynamic standing and identified an area for improvement. She developed her own knowledge before designing virtual training programmes to enable her to share this learning. Her evidence-based resource on the use of standing frames has been shared regionally and has received positive feedback from staff across Northern Ireland.
She has integrated this learning into her clinical practice seamlessly. Always keeping the client at the centre, she has adapted this work to children with all levels of ability, ensuring children are receiving a goal focused intervention along with equipment to enhance their development. Children with complex conditions are accessing equipment they require and by using her excellent clinical reasoning, Kerryann is able to identify opportunities for her patients to improve their physical needs.
The Department/Outpatient of the Year went to the Renal Unit in the Ulster Hospital. Teamwork within the Renal Unit, Ulster Hospital has always been paramount and integral to providing exceptional patient care. The team care for a high risk group of extremely vulnerable patients suffering from Kidney Disease and the COVID-19 pandemic dictated the need to work in different ways.
Staff were upskilled and safety measures were put in place to ensure the delivery of life saving haemodialysis (HD) treatment. Emergency transplant clinics were established to support renal transplant surgery throughout the pandemic and home delivery of life sustaining therapy for those patients suffering with Chronic Kidney Disease was provided. Medical Student Technicians were also utilised in the sustained and safe delivery of dialysis. A Virtual anaemia clinic operated by the pharmacist and nursing staff enabled extremely vulnerable patients to have EPO treatment delivered to their door. EPO therapy greatly enhances quality of life for patients suffering with Kidney Disease.
In the Innovative Use of Digital Technology category, the Communications Team within the Trust were Highly Commended. The team knew of the critical role social media can play in shaping health-related behaviours and intentions. Therefore, a creative and innovative social media strategy was quickly formulated. The strategy aimed to inform, educate, encourage and empower. Information was ever changing and required a large broadcast quickly.
Opening times, locations and information about who was eligible for the vaccine used attention grabbing graphics and videos to ensure communications were clear and accessible whilst eye catching to allow as many people as possible to receive the information required to get vaccinated.
Clever campaigns were designed to encourage young people to come forward for vaccination at the SSE and subsequently to the mobile clinics which enabled us to grab the attention we needed both online and offline. “GrabaJabandaPoke” and “PokesonTour”, these campaigns caused frenzy online.
Social media feeds were filled with snaps of the classic “poke” engaging with our comedic hashtags resulting in local comedian Paddy Raff making his own sketch about the pokes to share on his social media channels giving the message access to an additional 105K followers.
In the final award, Kathryn McGarrigle, Labour Ward Sister, picked up a Highly Commended award for Midwife of the Year.
Kathryn has been a midwife since 2005 and has worked in various areas of Maternity throughout her career.
Kathryn was instrumental in setting up the COVID-19 vaccination clinics for ante-natal and post-natal women within the South Eastern Trust area.
Kathryn is an amazing midwife and is highly respected in her role not only with staff but with the women she has cared for over the years.
Congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted for both awards and to the finalists and winners.