Well it was another amazing day of celebration and achievement for our stars of the healthcare industry. The PEN National Awards 2012 took place on Wednesday 6th February amid a buzz of excitement and anticipation.

The healthcare industry has taken a real battering recently what with the Francis Report being used to vilify staff and drag in new changes for the NHS. The NHS has for some time now become the bullied child in the playground and it becomes easy to forget that we have arguably the most globally admired and envied healthcare system around, which has been at the heart of our country’s infrastructure since it was first introduced . It was a delight to be a part of this terrific celebration of best practice and outstanding contribution to patient experience, especially from such a diverse pool of talent which included not only NHS staff but private companies and partnerships alongside one another, all working towards the same common goals.

Shadow Care Minister Liz Kendall highlights some of the main concerns of a failing healthcare system: “We are all rightly shocked when failures in care are exposed. Although we know some rogue individuals creep into our sector, more often these are system failures caused by deficient leadership, insufficient funding, faulty process, inadequate training or poor communications”. So it was incredibly encouraging to learn that many of the teams that reached the PENNA 2012 finals were involved in projects that were not only expertly executed, but also involved an extraordinary effort to communicate with patients, staff and other caregivers, improve experience, and provide real value to not only the service users, but also to the trusts and the stakeholders

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the Everton in the Community Team, shone through as the biggest stars of the day with their disability workshops and soccer spas, voted by all as the overall winners. The workshops incorporate physical activity and multi-sports games, which in turn encourage movement and aid patients’ rehabilitation.

Karen Ross, Head of Patient Experience, said: “Here at Alder Hey, we recognise we have a responsibility of not just caring for patients but treating their families too. We are delighted to have such a positive and pro-active partnership with Everton Football Club and Woodlands Beauty Spa. The programme improves patient experience by removing anxieties and breaking up the tedium of long-term hospital care”.

Central Manchester’s success was unprecedented this year, winning an amazing three times and becoming finalists in a further four categories for unbelievably hard work and dedication to their patients.

Other stars of the day included North West Ambulance Service who scooped an award for showing the most innovation with their novel invention, the Patient Experience Board Game, a tool that encourages a fun, informal and unimposing way of receiving feedback about service and experience from patients who so often would not get their true voice heard.

Yes, we must all learn from the terrible mistakes that have been made in the past, but it is now more important than ever to remember, support, and recognise all the wonderful work the dedicated teams and individuals up and down the country are doing for our patients, and use the success stories as a platform to improve even more lives.

If you know of any initiatives that deserve to be put in the spotlight, then let us know. We all know that bad headlines make good reading, but isn’t it about time we also focussed on what IS working?

You can find all of this year’s winners and finalists at the PENNA website, along with the winners’ presentations and lots of other resources, http://www.patientexperienceawards.org/


Author: Alma Sheren: Alma is a Project Co-ordinator at Awards international and a Freelance Writer. She has extensive experience in Events Management and Customer Experience, particularly within the Healthcare industry and Leisure, Sport and Tourism.

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