Our fourth Royal Free London (RFL) Oscars event took place at Barnet Hospital (BH) yesterday evening (21 June) and celebrated staff who have gone above and beyond for patients and colleagues over the last year.

The event was hosted by Deborah Sanders, chief executive of BH, who was joined by the executive team, including Mike Greenberg, medical director; Denis Enright, director of operations; Bev Thomas, director of nursing; Lisa Marsh, director of financial performance; and Ian Hewitt, assistant director of people.  

To kick off the celebrations, Deborah reflected on the last year and achievements of colleagues in the room: “Despite our challenges, you have continued to provide high standards of care to our patients and have demonstrated excellent teamwork. While the effects of the pandemic have eased, other challenges ranging from long waiting lists to industrial action have come forward. It is thanks to you, our brilliant staff, and your dedication that we are able to address these issues. We truly appreciate all that you do.”

There were 108 high calibre nominations across 13 award categories, and many awards had more than two runners up this year – a clear demonstration of the hard work and commitment of staff at BH. Thank you to the Royal Free Charity for supporting this year's awards.

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

Outstanding contribution to research award winner: Ameet Bakhai, cardiology consultant

Ameet posing with his trophy

Ameet has driven innovation by introducing an automatic system whereby a B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) result, a biomarker which detects heart failure, is alerted to a requesting physician and has demonstrated how this scan be lifesaving for patients. He champions research at Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital, regularly raising awareness at grand rounds, and is using data from our electronic patient record to drive research further.

Clinical team of the year award winner: The rapid emergency and acute care therapy team (REACTT)
Runners up: Rainbow ward and the emergency department

The rapid emergency and acute care therapy team posing with their photo

Presenting the award, Deborah said: “REACTT continuously seeks to improve and adapt its service to ensure high quality patient care and experience and to support the increasing demand on our emergency department. The team operate well together to ensure clinical priorities are met but also to enable service developments and quality improvement (QI) projects to be achieved.”

Over the past year, the team has embedded several initiatives to improve patient experience and hospital flow through the emergency department. An example is a current QI project to improve the care provision and experience of patients living with frailty who are admitted to our adult assessment unit. This project has sought input from the wider multidisciplinary team and with the support of charity funding will improve the ward environment and processes to ensure the needs of those with frailty are met.

Clinician of the year award winner: Sinead Doherty, clinical nurse specialist
Runners up: Karen Lilley, clinical site manager, and Elena Foulkes, occupational therapist

Sinead posing with her trophy

Sinead has gone above and beyond to ensure her patients and their environment are safe and secure. She has managed to revamp 6 west A ward where we see our allergy patients for food challenges. The environment on the ward was outdated with old furniture. She created a vision and ordered new chairs, tables, personally removed old posters that were outdated and created and safe and warm environment for our patients. Mike explained: “She has also done a huge amount for patients and her staff by arranging extra appointments for patients, as well as organising international nurses day for the children's nurses twice. She is proactive, hands on and does everything with love and joy. Her colleagues said ‘she is a great joy to our team and deserves every award’.”

Non-clinical team of the year award winner: medical staffing team (medicine and urgent care division)
Runners up: Barnet patient experience team, women and children’s operational team, main outpatients receptionists

Ruth Ouzia collecting the award on behalf of the medical staffing team

(Ruth Ouzia collecting the award on behalf of the medical staffing team)

The medical staffing team a high level of complexity, within often high stress situations, on a daily basis. There have been multiple challenges this past year, which have impacted medical staffing levels and the morale and resilience of medical teams but this team has consistently gone above and beyond to meet these challenges. They demonstrate impressive calm, rigor and attention to detail. 

Denis presented the award and said: “This team continues to grow and adapt, always ensuring patient safety, continuity and smooth seamless running of services. I’m sure you will all agree the service is an important one that we should all be proud of.”

Shining star award winner: Matthew Rudd, senior audiologist
Runners up: Dillon O’Flynn, ward administrator; Kate Rock, clinical operations manager; and Bernadette Henderson, inpatient therapy service lead 

Matthew posing with his trophy

Bev presented the award and said: “Matthew has a huge amount of knowledge and endless experience. His patience and kindness with patients, who suffer very difficult kind of types of hearing loss, is immense. No matter how challenging the case presented to him, he is able to deal with the situation with a favourable outcome for the patient”. 

A colleague who nominated Matthew said: “I can wholeheartedly recommend him as an outstanding ambassador of our team, who can always be relied on to turn an impossible situation around. He is a team player and will help wherever he can – he also takes huge interest in training the next generation of audiologists. He is kind, helpful and respectful, but above all our patients adore and trust him.”

Quality improvement and efficiency award winner: Improving postnatal caesarean section care – QI project team
Runners up: Healthy mouths – QI project team and Happy skin – QI project team

Improving postnatal caesarean section care – QI project team posing with their trophy

This project team was nominated for the excellent impact they’ve had on patient experience, the long-term commitment of their team and coach as well as their exemplary patient involvement. The project started when the Maternity Voices Partnership shared that they were hearing many reports of occasions where the postnatal experience for c-section mothers could have been better. 

The team held listening events and gathered ideas from mothers and staff to improve postnatal experience on two wards with excellent results. One patient wrote ‘thank you so much for looking after us so well! You are all heros!’. This project has really demonstrated the power of teamwork, commitment and patient involvement, and the ability to significantly improve patient experience.

Outstanding contribution to education award winner: Nirmala Evans, senior clinical educator and professional nurse advocate
Runners up: Sarah Bingley, clinical lead, patient at risk and resuscitation (PARRT), and Nuala Kelly, clinical practice educator

A colleague collecting Nirmala's award on her behalf

(A colleague collecting Nirmala's award on her behalf)

“Nirmala came into post in 2016 and has worked diligently to provide a high standard of education at Barnet Hospital. She has also written and accredited training courses that are recognised with the universities associated with the trust, including leadership, frailty and medical modules,” Mike said when presenting the award. 

The modules she developed have helped nurses develop better understanding of the subject matter, gain credits towards further education whilst also being able to attend the training on site. The leadership module has helped strengthen the nursing leadership and fill the band 6 and 7 posts. Her colleagues said: “She has had a challenging year with staff shortages within her team, however she continues to single handedly deliver the training requirements for our division giving her own time on her days off. She is truly an inspirational nurse.”

Outstanding contribution to patient safety award winner: the patient safety dashboard team
Runners up: Mark Cohen, diabetes consultant and maternity services

The patient safety dashboard team posing with their trophy

The patient safety dashboard team were recognised for their vision, initiation and subsequent implementation of the patient safety dashboard, first as a pilot at Barnet Hospital, then spread across the wards and finally across the group. The patient safety dashboard provides a visible, live approach to ensure that key patient quality metrics are being seen, checked and monitored for the safety of all patients. Its visibility has a ward to board electronic approach which is a key feature of the initiative. Senior nursing staff can ensure and monitor compliance at a glance.

“The implementation of the dashboard has and will continue to reduce the risks of patients key metrics not being carried out in a timely manner,” Bev said when presenting the award.

Non-clinical employee of the year award winner: Janet McGrath, ward clerk
Runners up: Allyson Coughlan, service manager and Barrington Wallace, discharge coordinator

Ruth Ouzia collecting Janet's award on her behalf

(Ruth Ouzia collecting Janet's award on her behalf)

Lisa presented this award and explained to attendees: “Janet is extremely hard working and always goes above and beyond in the delivery of her work, making a difference not only to the experience of staff but also to patients and visitors. She takes care of families and visitors in an utterly professional and caring manner and provides them with all the support and information they need to help them navigate what is often a traumatic and confusing experience.” 

Janet’s colleague said: “She is not only an employee behind a desk but a friendly face who goes beyond her role to build relationships with patients and their families. She is the glue that holds our multi-professional team together, a one woman support system, a fountain of useful information and knowledge and a source of warmth, comfort and encouragement in a constantly challenging working environment.”

Volunteer of the year award winner: Barnet patient experience champion volunteers
Runners up: Sue Young and child health garden team

Barnet patient experience champion volunteers posing with their award and certificate

When presenting the award, Deborah said: “These volunteers have enriched our understanding of how patients experience our services. We recognise that people who compliment or raise concerns about the care they receive are typically motivated by a particularly positive or negative experience. Our volunteers conduct peer-to-peer patient conversations across our services, to ensure that not only do we hear a balanced view of feedback, but also that through our peer-led conversations process, our staff can be responsive to any issues as they arise. She added: “Our volunteers are friendly and caring and we cannot underestimate their contribution to improving patient experience across Barnet Hospital.”

Celebrating diversity award winner: Katie Vangucci, lead therapist for frailty

Katie Vangucci posing with her trophy

Katie demonstrates all trust values on a daily basis. She is actively respectful, going above and beyond to treat everyone with respect and outwardly challenges discriminatory behaviours. “She organises training for her team on equality and diversity, including how to treat LGBTQ+ patients and diversity awareness training. She is visibly reassuring so that anyone who works with her feels they can go to her with any problems, and feel completely listened to and supported,” Ian said when presenting the award. “She is a clear communicator, leading the team at times and ensuring colleagues are well supported and well informed. She also goes above and beyond to communicate sensitively with her patients.” 

Her colleagues said: “She is positively welcoming. Every team member has felt welcomed and wanted. Even when she is rushed off her feet, she always has time for you.”

Living our values award winner: Anissa Rahemtulla, neonatal nursery nurse
Runners up: Shailraj Jadeja, quality governance facilitator and Susan McLoughlin, nursing assistant

Anissa Rahemtulla posing with her trophy

“On every one of her shifts, Anissa demonstrates the trust’s values both flawlessly and effortlessly,” Bev explained to attendees. “She actively respects everyone, her colleagues, patients and family members and is always considerate of others, showing a real empathic approach in her work. She ensures everyone's privacy, dignity and confidentiality is respected. She supports people in gaining independence and confidence, helping parents and family members with their new arrivals and also supporting her colleagues as a mentor, always having time to give which plays a pivotal role within the unit,” Bev added.

One of Anissa’s nominations said: “Not only can I speak for myself but I feel I can speak on behalf of our unit, she is a very cherished member of staff and most certainly well deserving of this award!”

Chairman’s leadership award winner: Ruth Ouzia, divisional director of operations for medicine and urgent care
Runners up: Lauren Farber, service line lead and acute medicine consultant and Louise Oliver, operations manager

Ruth posing with her trophy

“Ruth is an absolute role model. When she is supporting operations, she always comes in to the site team office first thing to check in on the staff. This is something she chooses to do. She is always approachable, kind and friendly. She has so much responsibility on her shoulders and takes all of this in her stride,” Denis said when presenting the award. He added: “Ruth is professional, with a vast knowledge to help answer any queries or deal with any situations that arise in the hospital. Her focus is very much on patient care, always making sure that best practice is in place.”

One of Ruth’s colleagues said: “The trust’s values are something that I have seen her go above and beyond to maintain. For someone so senior in the hospital she is just a delight to have as a manager. I think she is so deserving of an award for all her hard work and dedication."

BH’s winners, alongside winners from other sites, will be invited to attend the group 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.

Thank you to all staff who have helped organise our site RFL Oscars awards – you can read about the other events below: