Lothian’s Four Award Winning Healthcare Heroes

Four top health professionals from across Lothian have taken home a national accolade at the Scottish Health Awards 2012 for their invaluable contribution to Scottish healthcare.

Jennifer Neilson, Community Psychiatric Nurse at the South West Community Mental Health Team in Edinburgh was amongst the winners who accepted the Nurse Award at the prestigious award ceremony in Edinburgh.

Jenny was nominated by one of her patients in recognition of the loyalty, professionalism and kindness she has shown to her patients and colleagues throughout her career. Jenny is committed to all of her patients and is always focussed, calm and dependable in a crisis.

The patient also commended her ability to connect with each person individually with extraordinary compassion and care, developing relationships based on trust and understanding. Jenny has transformed the lives of many of her patients, giving them hope and encouraging them to pursue their dreams.

She was joined at the award ceremony by Dr Paul Eunson as he collected the coveted Doctor Award to honour his outstanding dedication to helping sick children and their families.

Dr Paul Eunson, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh was nominated for the top accolade by a grateful local mother who wanted to commend him for the care her daughter received.

The family has known Dr Eunson for over nine years and during this time he has been a constant source of professional support and guidance during many difficult years of their daughter’s ill health.

At just six weeks old the young girl was rushed to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh where she was taken care of by Dr Eunson.  She was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder and over the following five years he remained at her side as she battled the effects of the disorder on her brain and body.

In 2009, Dr Eunson referred the child to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for pioneering surgery that would remove the abnormal part of her brain in an eight hour operation.  Unfortunately she suffered serious complications and spent another six months following this back in Dr Eunson’s care at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

The young girl has now been free of seizures for over three years and while she will always have complex needs she is now free of all medication. She still regularly sees Dr Eunson who will follow her neurological problems closely until adulthood.

Val Alexander is Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) Supervisor for Edinburgh Community Health Partnership. Val and her team have gone the extra mile to integrate the FNP initiative as an early years intervention for teenage mums-to-be. The initiative aims to improve pregnancy outcomes by improving women’s ante-natal health, improving child health and development and helping young mothers develop a vision for their futures. The family nurses are already delivering many early successes and the team has a very high acceptance rate among young mothers.Early outcomes show that 17 per cent of clients of the team stopped smoking completely and 78% stopped drinking completely.

Shena Brown, based at Bathgate Primary Care Centre, is a Respiratory Facilitator working with patients with long term conditions. Over the past three years she has created and delivered a new service which has had a real impact on the quality of lives of older people who live in care homes. She has developed a training programme for care home staff, improving their knowledge and confidence of dealing with long term conditions to enable them to deliver higher quality service to residents and their families. The nomination highlighted Shena’s personable communication skills, organisational abilities and infectious desire in ensuring the training programme delivers its aims.

The judges were impressed by the compassion and dedication that has made such a difference to children and families across Scotland. 

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil said, “Our ambition is to deliver the highest quality of healthcare to the people of Scotland, and these awards give us the opportunity to recognise those individuals and teams who are making an outstanding contribution to that ambition.  All those nominated have gone that extra mile to deliver consistent, reliable and responsive healthcare for everyone.

“Over 250 nominations were received across the 16 award categories.  Many of these were from patients and the public, and all nominations showcased excellent examples of how individuals, teams and local NHS systems are working together with patients, families and carers.”

The Scottish Health Awards recognise and reward the commitment and hard work of those who work in and with NHSScotland to provide an outstanding level of care to the public.

For more information on the awards please visit www.scottishhealthawards.com

The full list of winners is outlined below:

    • Doctors Award – Dr Paul Eunson, Consultant Paediatric Neurologist, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, NHS Lothian
    • Nurses Award – Jennifer Neilson, Community Psychiatric Nurse, South West Community Mental Health Team, NHS Lothian
    • Therapists Award – Denise James, Relaxation Therapist, Fife Palliative Care Team
    • Unsung Hero Award – Ashley Medicks, Charity founder and Director of Skinship (UK)
    • Support Workers Award – Carol Prattis, Occupational Therapy Support Worker, Mental Health Occupational Therapy Team, Queen Margaret Hospital, NHS Fife
    • Volunteers Award – Irene Fyfe, volunteer, Action on Hearing Loss Scotland
    • Top Team Award – Orthopaedic Rapid Recovery Team, Crosshouse Hospital, NHS Ayrshire and Arran
    • Care for Mental Health Award – Anna Coppola, Carol Donoghue and Linda McNee, Leverndale Hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
    • Care for Long-Term Illness Award – Karon Carson, Lung Clinical Nurse Specialist at Wishaw General Hospital, NHS Lanarkshire
    • Services to Women and Children Award – Glasgow Epilepsy Genetics Service, New South Glasgow Hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
    • Healthier Lifestyle Award – Val Alexander, Family Nurse and Partnership Supervisor, Edinburgh Community Health Partnership
    • Health Promoting Business Award – Aberdeen College
  • Integrated Care for Older People Award – Stirling Council’s Intermediate Care and Reablement Teams, Stirling Council
  • Innovating for Quality Award – The Department of Tissue Viability at NHS Grampian
  • Quality Champion of the Year – Wendy Thomson, Occupational Therapy Development Facilitator, Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary
  • Leading for Quality Award – Shena Brown, Respiratory Facilitator, West Lothian Community Health Care Partnership

Please note that all nominees must work for NHSScotland, with the exception of the Integrated Care for Older People, Healthier Lifestyle, Volunteer and Health Promoting Business Awards where nominations were open to everyone.

The Scottish Health Awards 2012 is managed by the Scottish Government and the Daily Record, and is supported by Pfizer, NHSScotland and UNISON Scotland.

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