Announcing our corporate services Oscars winners

20 June 2023

The third Royal Free London (RFL) Oscars event of 2023 took place yesterday afternoon (19 June) at Enfield Civic Centre, this time to recognise the stellar work carried out by corporate services teams over the past 12 months.

The event was hosted by Robert Prince, managing director of group corporate services, with Crystal Akass, chief people officer; Ravi Baghirathan, chief transformation officer; Glenn Winteringham, chief digital officer; Bev Thomas, director of nursing, Barnet Hospital; and Andrew Panniker, managing director, Royal Free London property services, joining him to celebrate the achievements of staff.

Ahead of awards being handed out, Robert spoke about some of the work that has been carried out by corporate services teams over the past 12 months.

“In recruitment this year alone we have hired over 1,600 nurses and a 1,575 doctors, while in payroll 25,000 payslips per month have been processed and payroll accuracy stands at 99.72%,” he said.

“We have also completed over 1,000 maternity, paternity and adoption applications and over 4,500 reference requests were received. The IT service desk logged over 107,000 tickets in 2022 alone. 33% were taken over the phone and 67% logged by the user themselves via the IT service desk portal.

“Many of you here today will have taken part in that work, and you are all a part of the story of the NHS and the RFL. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge congratulations to you all.”

There were 78 nominations across 11 categories in corporate services, with some categories also having runners up. Thank you to the Royal Free Charity for supporting this year's awards.

Continue reading below to see photos of the winners and the work they carry out.

Well done to all the nominees, runners up and winners:


Volunteer of the year award winner – Veronica Kennard, bereavement volunteer

Veronica has been part of the bereavement service for some time and has gone above and beyond in her role which is often a difficult task. She speaks to families, handles enquiries in a sensitive and informative manner and always helps to raise any concerns they may have. She is flexible with her time as a volunteer and the team has described her as a ‘joy’ – they know everyone is in good hands when she is around.


Quality improvement and efficiency award winner – Workforce systems and information team

Runner up: Vicky Pang, lead nurse in infection prevention and control

The workforce systems and information team provides workforce reports and guidance to the people team and wider trust, which gives valuable insight into HR services and helps identify opportunities for improvement. "The regular production of these reports provides meaningful statistics and helps progress tracking to ensure compliance," Crystal said when announcing the team as the winner. "Their attention to detail was described by their nominator as ‘unparalleled’, despite the complexity and immense amount of data gathering, analysis and interpretation required. They also work with the wider people team to determine what metrics matter most at any given time during the year, which helps save time and resources across our sites."


Shining star award winner – Subata Ahmed, associate HR business partner

Runner up: Diana Papamichael, recruitment manager

Subata joined the trust in 2018 as an administrator in transplant and specialist services before moving on to join the HR business partner team as a HR coordinator supporting the team in corporate services. During the pandemic, she supported the onboarding of external staff, including supporting an overseas nurse to return from Barbados to work in ICU. Since then, she has returned to supporting services and in particular has set up links with the job centre in Camden to recruit porters and domestic staff. She also oversees the training for staff in maths, English and IT to participate in apprenticeship schemes.


Outstanding contribution to education award winner – Simulation and health services for the elderly education teams

Runner up: post registration nursing education team

The simulation and health services for the elderly teams came together this past year to create a multi professional simulation day focused on the diagnosis and management of delirium. "This was delivered by a professional actor and a pre-course learning package focused on the tools staff can use to diagnose and manage delirium, and how to interact with family members," Ravi explained to those in attendance. "Together, the two teams have now expanded this simulation day to Barnet Hospital and are running it eight times a year, reaching across multiple groups and medical staff." Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and staff feel that this has made a real difference to their practice and helped them to manage their own anxieties around delirium.


Outstanding contribution to research award winner – Eleanor Damian, senior research nurse, renal

Runner up: Stella O’Connor, research nurse, rheumatology

Eleanor delivers clinical trials in the renal team, working with consultants and principal investigators, while managing a team of nurses to deliver clinical trials. She trains them and supports them in their role and makes sure that all patients participating in clinical trials are well cared for and are safe to partake. She coordinates the delivery of clinical trials and regularly works alongside external partners such as pharmaceutical companies and sponsors to make sure the trust is competitively selected for delivery of various clinical trials. "The research that has come from the team has yielded new or greatly improved models of care for the greater benefit of patients, and she has done this while acting as an ambassador for the trust – promoting learning, education and development at all times," Ravi said.


Celebrating diversity award winner – BAME staff network

Runner up: Stephen Downer, support services team leader and co-chair of the LGBT+ and friends staff network

The BAME staff network has done stellar work this past year in ensuring equality and diversity. This year alone they have introduced BRAP training, which was the first of its kind, and this has been widely regarded as a positive step in the right direction to challenging racism in our trust. "The training aims to contribute to a culture change and a healthier and fairer workplace for staff, improve staff retention and impact positively on patients’ care," Glenn said. "Other initiatives include the white allies programme, anti-racist training and reverse mentoring, which have all been instrumental in helping us achieve our equality goals."


Living our values award winner – Ioana Chindris, domestic assistant

Runner up: clinical practice group team

Ioana works in the domestic team on the lower ground floor ED, Louise Ryan unit, children’s physiotherapy and occupational therapy at the Royal Free Hospital, ensuring that the areas are always clean. "The nomination says she comes to work every day 'with a smile on her face', completes tasks to an excellent standard and engages with staff and service users with great respect and kindness," Glenn said. "She goes beyond her job description, checking in with people and helping with directions when needed. She does so much more than what is required, bringing 'sunshine' to the areas of the hospital that she works in."


Non-clinical team of the year award winner – RFLPS catering

Runner up: Chalkmill Drive decontamination team

"RFLPS catering is an exemplar in their field, having introduced many innovations which ultimately have a positive impact on patients’ experiences in hospital," Andrew said as he announced the winning team. This year they introduced a new electronic ordering system and care of the elderly and dementia areas were provided with coloured dishes and cutlery to improve patient nutrition. Snack menus have been improved to provide a full range to meet the nutritional needs of our patients and every menu is continuously reviewed with an eye to improvement. A ‘Food for Life’ soil association award for sustainable practices, and opening for extra hours through Eid so Muslim staff could have a hot meal after sundown, are also prime examples of the work of this team.


Non-clinical employee of the year award winner – Paula Barradas, domestic assistant

Runner up: Zara Airey, HR business partner

(Pictured: Margaret Harris collecting the award on behalf of Paula)

Since the opening of Graseby House three years ago, Paula has been solely responsible for the cleaning of 63 bedrooms, communal areas, and downstairs office space for 100 staff. "Her commitment to consistent and outstanding service to the trust is reflected in the superior standard of cleaning throughout the building," Andrew said. "All staff and accommodation residents know her very well and exchange greetings and conversation daily, she goes above and beyond what is expected of her role, whether it's allowing access for estates to the building, helping to welcome new residents or giving our staff advance warning of any potential maintenance issues. Staff at Graseby House have described her as an ‘unsung hero’ and a ‘domestic Florence Nightingale’ who always has a ‘broad smile’."


Clinician of the year award winner – Mary Wall, senior medical examiner officer

(Pictured: Shaan Malhotra collecting the award on behalf of Mary)

"Mary has been a key part of establishing the medical examiner service for the trust, which became mandatory in April," Bev explained. "She ensured everything both within the trust and at local GP surgeries was in place to ensure a smooth transition, and she has also led the pilot for the myalgic encephalomyelitis service and community death referrals." There is now excellent collaboration with the GPs for Camden and Barnet, and the seven-day service allows for the death wishes to be carried out in a timely manner. The workload of the service has increased as a result, but Mary has ensured that service requirements are met, that team wellbeing is healthy and that there are contingency plans in place to cope with unforeseen circumstances.


Chairman’s leadership award winner – Toni Mason-Hambidge, head of payroll

Runner up: Christina Manderson, medical education manager

"The criteria for this award is for the winner to have demonstrated exceptional leadership and to have improved the performance of a department as a result of their talent, dedication and teamwork, all while leading as an example in their display of the trust’s values," Robert said. "Toni’s role is one that is almost invisible, and yet has an impact on every person that the trust employs." She works tirelessly to ensure staff are looked after, treated fairly and paid correctly on time. She looks proactively for under and over-payments, last minute changes that have come through that can still be accommodated, and any avoidable errors. Beyond her quality control and standards, she has proactively tackled tasks for the trust which have led to an average saving of £150,000 per month in overpayments from avoidable errors and has led a crusade to educate managers and improve quality checks, while personally checking the payroll of 12,000 staff every month. 


Our corporate services winners, alongside winners from other sites, will be invited to attend the RFL group Oscars awards at the Royal College of Physicians, Regent's Park, on Tuesday 4 July.

The overall RFL group winners will be announced at the evening reception which will be followed by the 75th anniversary of the NHS on 5 July.

The next site awards will take place at Barnet Hospital on Wednesday 21 June.