Staff from various teams and departments at Barnet Hospital (BH) were recognised yesterday evening (11 June) as the first RFL Oscars event of the year took place.054 24_089_RFL Barnet Oscars 11.06.24.jpg

Colleagues were awarded across 13 categories, with stories shared about their achievement and commitment to patients over the past twelve months.

Deborah Sanders, chief executive of BH, hosted the awards, and in her opening remarks reflected on the past year of change and progress at the hospital.

“There have been numerous team and individual contributions which have all been achieved — thank you to everyone for being part of our story and for all your hard work and enthusiasm,” she said. “You are all fantastic colleagues, and we truly appreciate all your efforts.”

900 nominations were received across the trust, 200 of which were for staff working at BH.

The winners of each site event will be invited to the group wide RFL Oscars taking place at the Emirates Stadium on 18 July, along with winners from other sites, where an overall group prize will be given for every category.

Continue reading to learn more about the winners and their achievements.


Chairman’s leadership award

Winner: Karen Kirwilliam, head of nursing, emergency and acute medicine

Runner up: Mimoza Qoba, CAMHS clinical lead

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Karen was described as ‘an absolute superstar’ by colleagues who nominated her, and as a person who drives change and inspires others through her clear vision, positive attitude and compassionate leadership.

Within the emergency department she has led on projects which have improved patient safety, reduced violent and aggressive incidents against staff and made the department a more appealing place to work.


Celebrating diversity award

Winner: the phlebotomy team

Runner up: Ruth Akoto-Appiah, head of midwifery, and Olivia Bell, consultant midwife

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The phlebotomy team have led the way in making way in making reasonable adjustments for patients with learning disabilities, so much so that their work has been used as an example of best practice in staff teaching sessions.

The adaptations they employ to facilitate blood tests for patients with learning disabilities has meant that in one case a patient was able to have a blood test for the first time in 10 years.

The patient’s family member was extremely grateful as they had been concerned about their loved ones’ health for a long time but had been unable to progress investigations.


Clinical team of the year

Winner: Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals paediatric diabetes team

Runner up: Edgware birth centre team

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The Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals paediatric diabetes team have implemented new NICE guidance for their service and upskilling the team and others in highly specialist and complex technology.

A key priority for them has been to ensure equity of access for patients, finding solutions such as interpreters for families where English is a second language, using alternative and simplified training methods where additional needs may be present and looking at funding applications to support access to technology families from lower economic backgrounds.


Shining star award

Winner: Margaret O’Connor, rota manager, ICU

Runner up: Emma Gorry, senior operations manager, surgery

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Colleagues who nominated Margaret described her as the "glue that holds the team together".

Always the first to arrive and the last to leave, she goes "above and beyond", organising fundraising events to upgrade the unit’s rooms, helping staff resolve working life niggles and organising celebratory events for key milestones.

They said she is more than just a colleague; “she’s a friend, a mentor, and a ray of sunshine on even the darkest days.”


Clinician of the year

Winner: Bettymol Mathew, Starlight neonatal manager

Runner up: Ilianna Dretoulaki, occupational therapist

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Bettymol received several nominations for her standout personality, professionalism, kindness and honesty. She is an excellent leader, embodying the trust values, positively welcoming to newcomers and visibly reassuring to staff.

She ensures the environment is safe and secure for staff and patients, and is always ready to lend a hand if the unit is busy. She makes sure everyone’s voice is heard, listening to feedback and making meaningful changes where necessary.


Volunteer of the year

Winner: Infant feeding support volunteers

Runner up:

  • Emergency department volunteers
  • Chaplaincy volunteers
  • Louise Steer and maternity volunteers

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The infant feeding support volunteers are an invaluable support to staff and patients alike. The group invests their time to offer feeding support to new mothers through compassionate teaching and encouragement, which has generated excellent feedback from families.

One family shared their gratitude for the team after they spotted their child’s tongue tie and then spent hours with them getting the feeding to work. They described how “gentle guidance and a compassionate approach made a significant difference during a crucial time for their family”.


Non-clinical team of the year

Winner: PALS and complaints team

Runner up: Therapy services reception team

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The PALS and complaints team are the bridge between clinicians and patients, showing real passion for making the patient experience better.

Patients come to them when they are upset, angry, concerned and disappointed and the team makes the situation better time and time again as a calming presence that finds solutions before they escalate.


Outstanding contribution to research

Winner: Clifford Lisk

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Clifford has led on bringing the CHARMER research trial to Barnet Hospital, securing one of just 24 hospital positions for this study.

Its aims are to stop the use of unnecessary or inappropriate medicines being prescribed to older patients and is the largest hospital trial of its kind looking at the de-escalation of drug use.

It is hoped that 1,000 patients will be recruited to the trial. Participation was very hotly contested and it is hugely positive for Barnet Hospital to be selected for the trial.


Quality improvement and efficiency award

Winner: Mimoza Qoba, CAMHS clinical lead

Runner up: First contact practitioner team

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Mimoza has made significant improvements to how the hospital supports young people in a mental health crisis, with a drop in the number of admissions, shorter lengths of stay and reduced waiting times in our departments all being noted.

She has helped set up crisis hubs across the north and south of the north central London health sector to establish equity of care across the patch, and introduced mental health crisis clinicians to all our emergency departments. Under this model patients also receive support calls to their homes and families and carers can ring the crisis hubs for advice


Outstanding contribution to education

Winner: Medicine and Urgent Care clinical practice educators

Runner up: Tom Lyon, chief audiologist

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This team of five educators run three university-accredited in-house courses providing nurses with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and gain credits towards a masters. Their leadership course in particular is helping the trust recruit and retain at band 6 level as well as developing leaders of the future.

They are always on hand to support staff, developing education action plans and helping out on the wards when staffing issues arise.


Outstanding contribution to patient safety

Winner: Maternity equality, diversity and inclusion team

Runner up: Consultant paediatricians at the Royal Free Hospital site

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This team is continually innovating to improve the experience of women and birthing people and staff. This year they have launched tailored antenatal classes for black women, introduced sensory needs bags to support people with autism and set up the anti-racism initiative advisory group.

This approach has ensured that all staff feel empowered to share any concerns or ideas for improvement and has helped raise awareness on the impact of micro aggression in the work place and the effect this has on staff wellbeing.


Non-clinical employee of the year

Winner: Ife Akinyemi, head of quality governance

Runner up:

  • Ashick Jahangeer, housekeeper, Beech ward
  • Ijeamaka Anyanwu, outpatients service manager

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Ife demonstrates exemplary leadership and dedication to upholding the highest standards of care and service delivery.

Her leadership ensures that our governance practices align with regulatory standards, and she has helped make significant improvements to the overall experience of staff and patients within our trust, identifying areas which can be enhanced and working collaboratively with colleagues to implement new solutions.

Her efforts have led to better outcomes for patients and staff from diverse backgrounds, fostering a more inclusive and equitable environment within our hospital.



Living our values award

Winner: Deborah Kirby, matron

Runner up: Sophie Hird, quality governance manager

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Those who nominated Deborah said she is extremely committed to her job and leaves her door open regardless of how busy she may be.

Not only is she committed to those in intensive care, but in her role within the staff experience team she works to ensure that other areas within the hospital also benefit by enhancing their rest areas and encouraging ward areas to establish staff councils to enhance staff well-being so that everyone feels included, valued and listened to.

She has also organised various events through the hospital such as fashion shows, clothes swaps, ward areas Christmas decorations competitions and Easter egg competitions to mention just a few.