Awards for hospital staff who make all the difference

Bicester Advertiser: Marilyn Relf Marilyn Relf

AN incredible 11,000 staff and volunteers work across our county’s hospitals – the Churchill, John Radcliffe, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and the Horton General in Banbury.

A handful of them have been nominated by their colleagues who want to share their appreciation of the people behind the scenes and they were the stars at the second annual staff recognition awards run by the Oxford University Hospitals Trust.

The trust shortlisted candidates – hospital staff and volunteers and services based within the trust – for seven categories: compassion, excellence, improvement to service, leadership, partnership, volunteering and teamwork.

At an awards ceremony held last month in the Orangery at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, the gold, silver and bronze prizes were awarded.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive Sir Jonathan Michael said: “Our hospitals deliver high quality care, round the clock, 365 days a year, and that is thanks to the skill, dedication and commitment of our 11,000 staff and volunteers.

“Our annual recognition awards celebrate that commitment and recognise those who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to improve patient care. They also shine a light on some remarkable people who serve as an inspiration to us all.”

In a series of features we’ll be looking at the stories behind the nominations.

Today we highlight the winners and finalists in the Partnership category:

Marilyn Relf has worked at Sobell House Hospice, at the Churchill, for 31 years.

During that time the 61-year-old has had several different roles, more recently in education. She is currently bereavement team leader.

Nominated by Mary Miller, from palliative care at Sobell House, she won the category for leading a team to look at the provision of palliative and end of life care in the county for those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

She spoke to health advocates from around the county and faith leaders to understand how dying is viewed in different communities and how to provide care sensitively.

Dr Relf worked with local Islamic faith leaders to write an advice booklet on the subject Living with a life-limiting illness: Services available for adults in Oxfordshire – which she says is the first leaflet of its kind in the county.

She said: “I set up the bereavement service at Sobell House and I have come back to working in bereavement care this summer. We were trying to learn from people in order to inform. It is not just for people in Sobell House, but for those at the end of life.

“People were saying they didn’t know these services existed and I think that is true of so many people.

“People don’t know about services for people coming to the end of their life or people with a life limiting illness – until they are looking for them.”

Now GP practices, hospitals and organisations in the county are using the booklet.

On receiving the award, she said: “It is unusual for somebody based in a bereavement team or education team to get an award like this.

“It was an honour to have our work recognised.”

Dr Relf’s leaflet is available throughout the county and on

Human resources staff member Joanne Durkin was honoured with a silver award in the category.

The Values Based Interviewing project manager received the award to recognise her work with the Health Foundation and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to introduce Values Based Interviewing (VBI) at the Oxford University Hospitals Trust.

Ms Durkin said: “When I found out I was a finalist I was really shocked and quite humbled by it all – I was in this category with all these wonderful people.”

The aim of VBI is to recruit people who share the values of the hospital trust, and more than 200 VBI interviews have taken place.

Ms Durkin regularly speaks at national conferences to showcase the benefits of the work, and the plan is to roll VBI out across the whole organisation.

She said: “We are spreading it out to other divisions at the moment. We are getting really good results from it and it is a really wonderful project.”

She was nominated by Sue Donaldson, former director of workforce.

Assistant finance and performance manager Janice Geaney won the bronze award in the category She was honoured for her work to develop financial reports, information and systems for other colleagues and operational managers.

In particular, she has developed a suite of interactive work reports over the past year, which have given clarity to the trends and pressures in pay costs.

She was nominated by Carol Ann Gourlay, a divisional manager.

Comments (1)

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11:59am Sun 15 Dec 13

Feelingsmatter says...

These award ceremonies are an expensive joke. Most people in the NHS work hard, and under extreme pressure. Spend the money on something worthwhile.
These award ceremonies are an expensive joke. Most people in the NHS work hard, and under extreme pressure. Spend the money on something worthwhile. Feelingsmatter

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