By Lucy Ashton
Staff and volunteers from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde were honoured at a special virtual ceremony on Wednesday.
Because of the COVID pandemic, the Scottish Health Awards were held online for the first time – and NHSGGC and its partners picked up five gongs.
The Scottish Health Awards are national awards for those working across NHS Scotland and its partners. They recognise those who go that extra mile to improve the health and well-being of the people of Scotland.
After the ceremony, NHSGGC Chief Executive Jane Grant congratulated the winners.
She added: “The Scottish Health Awards are a fitting way to recognise the efforts of all those who work across NHS Scotland and its partners, and the fact there are five winners from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and so many others were nominated, should be a matter of pride for us all after such a challenging year.
“The awards reflect the talent and commitment of the winners, and all our staff. I would also like to congratulate those who were nominated for an award.”
The awards are run by the Daily Record in partnership with NHS Scotland and the Scottish Government.
Doctor Award: Pauline Grose, Consultant Acute Physician at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
Pauline led the team that set up and ran the hospital’s COVID-19 High Dependency Unit.
“We basically had two HDUs, one for COVID and one for non-COVID. We amalgamated teams, and had to set up new systems and protocols,” she said.
One of the team’s biggest achievements was their success in the use of CPAP, non-invasive ventilation that means a patient does not need intubated. It was a new treatment for the team, and Pauline said there were huge challenges to overcome. “But it seemed to work,” she said.
Asked what she thought about her award, Pauline said she was honoured that her colleagues had nominated her, but admitted she was “slightly embarrassed”.
“I feel it’s more of a team award,” she said. “The medical staff, the nurses, even the people we don’t normally work with – they were all just amazing.
“We got to know each other really well and the selflessness everyone showed, the enthusiasm and willingness to try new things – it was a fantastic team effort.”
Pauline also paid tribute to patients and their families. “It was a really scary time for them. Often we spoke only on the phone, and they trusted us with their care. I’ll never forget that.”
People’s Choice Award: Dr Mun Woo, Associate Specialist, Renal Unit, Inverclyde Royal Hospital
This year marked the first ever People’s Choice Award, and Dr Woo was delighted to have won the hearts of the public vote.
She has been keeping her kidney dialysis patients safe during the pandemic. In collaboration with the Art in Hospital organisation, she and the team re-introduced IRH’s creative arts programme which provided patients with a creative space during dialysis treatment.
She said: “Every single individual has made a personal special contribution and is equally deserving of the award. I am totally overwhelmed to be voted as winner of the People’s Choice Award and am tremendously grateful for the support I have received.
“This is indeed a privilege for me and the whole Renal team – thank you so very much!”
Allied Health Professionals (AHP) Award: Alex Kane, Highly Specialist Physiotherapist and Practice Development Physiotherapist based at the West Centre in Drumchapel.
Alex led a project to improve access to sleep systems for children with complex physical disabilities.
The children Alex worked with need 24-postural management, and one of the most important aspects of this is sleep. When these children are asleep, the fact that they can’t move can cause great discomfort and even harm.
Sleep systems help keep them in a safe and healthy position at night – and Alex worked to widen access to sleep systems for children and their families, and to ensure staff got the best training to help the young people they worked with.
“It’s lovely to be recognised, but I feel we were just doing our best for the children and families we work with,” Alex said after winning the award. “It’s great to raise the profile of sleep systems, and how important they are for some of the country’s most vulnerable children.”
Innovation Award: The vCreate COVID-19 Project Team
The team created a secure video system for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Hospital for Children at the Queen Elizabeth in Glasgow, which helped family members keep in touch with the unit about the progress of babies, even at the very height of the pandemic.
Neil Patel, Consultant Neonatologist at the hospital and clinical lead on the project, said: “This year has sped past, with so many people working so hard on this project. This award has given us a moment to pause and recognise all those involved.”
The vCreate project was developed by the West of Scotland Innovation Hub, which brings together people from a range of disciplines to solve a range of challenges facing the health service. vCreate is a model that has since been adopted across the country, and internationally.
Aileen McIntyre, E-Health Project Lead with the Innovation Hub, said the project was a huge team effort, and that the award gave the entire team a real sense of achievement.
“The good relationships we developed and the ways of working we created stands us in good stead for the future,” she said.
Neil Patel paid tribute to everybody involved in the project, particularly Catriona MacNeil, ICU and Anaesthetics Consultant at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), Sameer Zuberi, Professor of Paediatric Neurology at the QEUH, and Mark Greig, West of Scotland Innovation Hub Programme Manager.
Volunteer Award: Glasgow Recovery Communities
The service is part of the Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Recovery Services, and is a peer-led organisation where people with lived experience of addiction help more than 500 people a week to reduce the harms caused by alcohol and drugs.
During the pandemic, the communities’ regular services, such as their Recovery Cafes, had to close, so volunteers found new ways to work and carry on supporting some of the most vulnerable people in Glasgow.
Kelda Gaffney, Service Manager, North East Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service, Glasgow City HSCP said: “I am hugely impressed, as always, by the amount of work and commitment our recovery volunteers have dedicated to supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the city. I have no doubt that a number of lives have been saved as a consequence.”
Carole Meakin, Business Analyst, Glasgow Alcohol and Drug Recovery Service, Glasgow City HSCP, also paid tribute to the volunteers: “It is amazing and a real privilege to see this level of support the volunteers are providing to help reduce drug and alcohol deaths in Glasgow.”
Volunteer AC said: “It‘s fantastic that volunteers are being appreciated and recognised for the work they do. The recovery communities not only saved my life, they showed me how to live my life.
“When COVID stopped the recovery cafes it put a lot of fear in everyone, but we have adapted to help people stay connected and continue to provide support. The recovery community keeps growing and we are helping more and more people every day, saving lives.”