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Hospital congratulates staff and volunteers on reaching finals of prestigious awards

Staff and volunteers at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) have been selected as finalists for two prestigious accolades at the Patient Experience Network National Awards.

Cally Bruce, acute oncology advanced nurse practitioner (pictured, right), is a finalist for The Fiona Littledale Award, in recognition of her work to enhance the experience for patients with cancer. In particular, she continues to focus on improving the care for our patients who are receiving chemotherapy treatment and attend our hospital as an emergency with suspected neutropenic sepsis. Neutropenic patients (a term for those who have a blood condition resulting from chemotherapy) are at a high risk of developing neutropenic sepsis and require antibiotics to be delivered more quickly. This is due to their immune system being compromised, meaning they are at greater risk of infection. Together with her team, Cally has rolled out a programme of specialist training for the emergency department to support this.

Other areas of focus have included metastatic spinal cord compression (a complication caused by cancer that has spread to the spine), ensuring that patients receive the best possible care and treatment. Her programme of advanced training for teams across the hospital has also featured advice on diagnosis and treatment of cancer of unknown primary origin (cancer which has spread, but the initial tumour that caused it cannot be identified).

Her nomination states: “Cally and the acute oncology team have done some amazing work across PAHT. Together with her team, Cally is consistently striving to improve the patient experience for those patients coming into our hospital with acute oncological problems (cancer) or who have suspected cancer. Cally and her team will always go the extra mile.”

In addition, the Patient Panel has reached the finals for its members’ work on the Cancer Patient Experience Survey 2018. This involved hosting a special event at Harlow Leisurezone in March 2018, following the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey (NCPES), to identify what matters to the local community. Working with local partners, the Patient Panel organised workshops for the day which focused on topics such as management of side- effects; support for carers; young people and cancer; life after cancer; and financial matters. They then produced a report of recommendations for health and care, education and charity partners to implement in response. Complementing this work was the opportunity to share the findings among established community groups in west Essex and Hertfordshire.

Their nomination states: “This conference has demonstrated that engaging with patients leads to meaningful conversations with service planners and staff delivering the service. It shows that we can all work together to achieve the end goal.”

The awards ceremony, run by the Patient Experience Network, will be held at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham, on 18 March.

Cally said: “I’m honoured and humbled to be nominated for such an award and l’m looking forward to joining the Patient Panel for the ceremony on the night.”

Ann Nutt, chair of the Patient Panel, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as finalists. Our members give their time to support the hospital and are committed to making a difference for other patients.

“Together with Cally, we are extremely pleased to see our work towards improving the experience for patients with cancer reach the finals.”

Sharon McNally, director of nursing, midwifery, and allied health professionals, added: “It is testament to the fantastic contributions of Cally and the Patient Panel that their work to support our patients has been acknowledged on a national platform.

“Congratulations go to Cally and the Patient Panel on this amazing achievement.”

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Notes to editors:

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust was established in April 1995 and provides services at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, the Herts and Essex Hospital in Bishop’s Stortford, and St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping. We have an annual income of around £236,700 million. We have 414 general and acute beds at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and provide a full range of general acute services, including a 24/7 emergency department, an intensive care unit, a maternity unit and a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We also provide outpatient and diagnostic services from the Herts and Essex Hospital, Bishop’s Stortford, and St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping.

We employ around 3,500 staff and serve a local population of about 350,000 people living in West Essex and East Hertfordshire, centred on the M11 corridor and the towns of Harlow, Bishop’s Stortford and Epping. Our extended catchment area incorporates a population of up to 500,000 and includes the areas of Hoddesdon, Cheshunt and Broxbourne in Hertfordshire.

In October 2019, the Government announced that we are to receive funding to rebuild a new hospital in Harlow for our patients, community and people. The details around the funding and the timeframe are currently being finalised and we are completing our business case for the new hospital.

Inpatient comment:

The staff and care have been excellent. They have made sure I have felt comfortable, secure and safe. They are wonderful and exemplary in their commitment.