Saturday, July 13, 2024

Regional hospitals staff in running for top awards for helping improve lives of patients with learning disabilities and autism.

AHEAD of Learning Disability Week which starts on Monday (17 June) staff across Essex hospitals have been shortlisted for a clutch of four national awards for their outstanding work helping improve the lives of patients with learning disabilities and autism.

The nominations are for the National Learning Disabilities & Autism Awards, which recognises medical professionals supporting people to overcome some of the barriers to accessing health services caused by a range of learning disabilities and autism.

Scott Turner, Learning Disability and Autism Liaison Practitioner at Southend Hospital has been nominated for the Support Worker Award for his excellent support improving patient experience over the last 30 years. This includes identifying and making reasonable adjustments such as changes to sound or brightness levels, flexibility in how and where patients are cared for and promoting communication aids and Makaton.

Throughout his career he has passionately cared for patients in both the community and hospital with his continued work having had a huge impact in the lives of patients.

The Learning Disability and Autism Practitioners team, which Scott is part of along with his colleagues Julie Peacock-Laver from Basildon Hospital and Scott Crowhurst at Broomfield Hospital, have also been shortlisted for the Making a Difference Award.

That nomination recognises their outstanding clinical support and guidance to patients and colleagues to ensure the highest standards in patient care.

Scott said: “It was a shock finding out that I was nominated and shortlisted for the Support Worker of the Year and even more so to find out that the whole team have been nominated for another award. I am really pleased, as it shows that our work across the Trust is recognised.”

Also nominated for two awards is the oVRcome project, that offers virtual reality exposure therapy to help autistic patients and those with learning disabilities familiarise themselves with hospital environments. It has been shortlisted in the Making a Difference and the Great Autism Practice Awards categories.

The team consists of staff from the Patient Experience, Innovation, and Learning Disability and Autism teams across Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust and has already won multiple awards for their exemplary work on this innovative project.

Sarah Haines, Head of Patient Experience at the Trust, said: “I am really proud of how far we have come in terms of developing the oVRcome project. We’ve continued to support and engage with people with learning disabilities and autism across our community to provide new ways of improving their experience of healthcare.

“This is another great example of how working together can positively impact the quality of the services we support across the Trust.”

The winners of the awards will be announced on 21 June during a ceremony at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.

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