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Hospital Heroes honoured

05 October 2015

Health Care

The third annual Southend University Hospital Heroes awards has seen this year’s great and good of the hospital recognised for their achievements across eight categories celebrating dedicated staff.

Categories featured were innovation, quality care, unsung hero, outstanding leadership, outstanding achievement, team of the year, employee of the year and the patients; choice award, the latter supported by the Echo and voted for by members of the public and Echo readers.

The awards took place in front of peers, fellow nominees and the Mayors of Southend and Castle Point and the Chairman of Rochford District Council and the Chairman of Rayleigh Town Council.

Sue Hardy, chief executive, said: "Our award categories reflect so many triumphs - whether it's developing skills and knowledge to be the best you can be, making each patient experience truly special, developing new clinical advances, or leading a significant service change that benefits everyone."

Alan Tobias OBE, chairman of the hospital, added: "These awards are made extra special by the fact it's our staff who nominate the colleagues they feel best embody the trust's values, taking pride in working alongside them."

The hotly contested patients' choice award saw an incredible 10,500 votes cast across the Echo website, hospital website and social media, that's four times as many people who voted last year.

With over 50% of the vote it was an ecstatic Neptune ward staff who were named as this year's winners. They were described as consistently polite, cheerful, helpful, informative, knowledgeable, willing, trustworthy and reassuring. They went out of their way to make an extremely difficult situation bearable for a family whose daughter has had repeated prolonged visits to the hospital with a very complex condition.

The nominators, the Neale family, said: "We are able to leave our daughter in their care and know, without any doubt that she is not only safe and cared for but she is also happy and comfortable in their care. Everyone on the ward cares so passionately about what they do and how they do it."

A large group of staff from the ward were there to collect the ward on the evening, including jubilant ward manager Claire Scott. She said: "To be just nominated by the patients is a real honour so it's a massive thanks to the Neale family. We wouldn't have been nominated if it wasn't for the dedication, team work and the passion that every member of Neptune staff shows. And that is what it is about, it's not about one person it's everyone from the top to the bottom."

The award will now be working its way round the team's mantle pieces at home before a suitable place is found for it to go proudly on display on the ward.

Finally, of the awards evening and the triumphant Southend University Hospital members of staff, Alan concluded: "Each and every person at Southend plays a vital part in the patient journey regardless of where they work, and they should feel proud that they are making a difference every day. Thank you for your passion, commitment, dedication and innovation."

View images from the awards on the Southend Hospital Facebook page.

Winners on the evening were:

Quality care award

Lynn Coley, modern matron

Lynn has worked tirelessly over the past nine months to ensure a smooth transition of the Acute Medical Service as part of the trust's transformation programme.  In the words of her nominator she is 'the perfect example of a leader who is fully committed to her patients, wards and colleagues'.

Outstanding leadership

Sandra Steeples, patient admission and discharge manager

Sandra's leadership of the discharge services has led to a national reputation for the excellent work she does, bringing recognition for quality and excellence to Southend Hospital.  Recently, of note, she has been recognised by the East of England Emergency Care Intensive Support Team who have shared her achievements with several other hospitals and services and referenced her work regularly.

Team of the year

Musculoskeletal (MSK) early rehab and nursing team (ERAN)

This team created a new service that aims to reduce patient length of stay, they visit patients in their own home either on the day of discharge or the day after discharge, and they continue to support the patient and their carers with their recovery from surgery. 

Employee of the year

Paul Hepworth, emergency planning officer

Paul plays such an important, often behind the scenes role. He demonstrated once again his commitment and unwavering professionalism to the job when, last year, he gave up his free time at home to come into work and support the hospital's A&E department during the flooding that occurred. This is just one of countless examples of how our winner demonstrates his commitment to the hospital and goes way beyond the call of duty


Dr Masood Ali and the cardiac and medical day stay (CMDS) nurses

The team have introduced an innovative service for lung cancer patients to have the fluid that builds up in their lungs drained without the need for regular hospital admissions. The service means patients can be managed as outpatients and reduces the risk of infection and the inconvenience of multiple hospital admissions.

Unsung hero

Craig Brown, radiotherapy porter

When interacting with patients, Craig always goes beyond the call of duty to ensure patients receive highest quality care, dignity, comfort and wellbeing. A colleague who has worked at five other trusts said that Paul is the "the most dedicated, energetic, and enthusiastic porter I have ever met."

Outstanding achievement award

Yvonne Garcia-Nino, operational service manager

Our recruitment of Spanish nurses has helped many teams to support better patient care, and Yvonne is someone who has gone above and beyond to ensure those nurses are themselves supported.

Coming to work in a foreign country is a massive step and Yvonne has taken the time and trouble outside of her own role and in her own time to ensure our Spanish nurses have settled here at Southend.

Yvonne has also hosted evening sessions for the nurses to help them learn more about the area and ensure they want to remain valuable members of the team here.

Lifetime achievement award

There was also a special lifetime achievement award for Ron Kennedy, who has had a close association with the hospital for many years.

Ron was heavily involved with the fundraising campaign for the hospital's leukaemia unit between 1998 and 2000, accepting the role of a non-executive director. Then in 2009 he was elected as a governor, becoming a much valued member of the hospital's council of governors until May this year when he retired.

Alan Tobias OBE, said: "Ron is incredibly passionate about health care and has given many valuable years of care and guidance to our hospital. We're humbled and immensely grateful to Ron for the time and dedication he had given to the hospital and its staff and patients."