First City Nursing

Eleanor Butler of FCN said: “We’re delighted to reach the finals! The positive, can-do approach that we take meant that our teams felt safe and supported throughout the pandemic, and that enabled us to spread this support to the whole sector across Swindon. Everyone working in care are heroes and deserve this celebration!”

First City Nursing was nominated by Jo Chandler, who said: “The 350+ team at First City as a whole should be considered for this award after the phenomenal solution-focused, collaborative working approach across the whole workforce as the pandemic took hold. Our director, Stephen Trowbridge, was awarded an MBE for his contribution to the sector throughout Covid-19 and he dedicated this to his entire workforce and the way that they each responded to prioritise the needs and safety of the people in Swindon and the surrounding areas.

“From the outset the team have given their absolute all, making sure that there was a flexible and ‘can do’ approach to everything that presented regardless of how challenging. Changing policies continuously reviewing guidance daily and making certain that the front line workers had over and above guidance when it came to PPE and communications. Staff have had access throughout to wellbeing and welfare support and we believe this has contributed to First City being able to keep up the delivery of support to many thousands of individuals during this time.”

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

A spokeswoman for the Trust said: “Our staff across the Trust have done an amazing job over the last year, stepping forward to respond to an unprecedented situation when others were rightly asked to step back. Teams have joined together to support patient care, and this has continued across the hospital, out in the community in peoples own homes and through primary care. We are all so proud to be a part of the GWH Family and are thrilled to have been shortlisted for this award.”

The Trust was nominated by its communications and engagement officer Kate Myrie, who said: “The Trust has pulled together as one big GWH family comprised of over 5,500 staff who have all worked exceptionally hard to care for patients during the pandemic. As the only healthcare trust in Swindon, and with a large catchment area of surrounding towns and villages, it has really stepped up to care for patients in the most challenging of circumstances.

“Many appointments were switched to become virtual rather than physical and staff adapted to work in new and different ways every day. Many staff were redeployed or asked to work in unknown areas, and a number of staff were also shielding or working from home - all really important roles in the fight against coronavirus.

“There is a large team working hard behind-the-scenes to keep the hospital running smoothly, as well as continuing with the improvement and advancement of services including stroke care, site developments such as a new Urgent Treatment Centre and closer system working with partners across the region.

“Thanks to the work of staff across the organisation, many patients have got better and been able to return home to their families.

The key success story is simple - that during a global pandemic, when others were quite rightly asked to step back, our staff stepped forward and did a simply incredible job in rising to the challenge of the most difficult year that the NHS has ever faced. They are all heroes.”

Prospect Hospice

Prospect said: “We’re incredibly grateful to be shortlisted for this award. We’re only able to support patients and those important to them because of our incredible staff. This nomination is recognition of the changes we’ve made to support our staff through the pandemic both in their role and to aid their wellbeing.”

The hospice was nominated by Helen Owen, who said: “Prospect Hospice has worked incredibly hard over the last year to ensure staff are not only protected in the workplace but can enjoy their roles working in difficult and different situations.

“Back in March 2020, the hospice had to completely rethink how it delivered end-of-life care to its patients and how staff worked in order to do this. For non-clinical staff, this means getting almost 50% of the workforce set up to work from home ensuring they had everything they needed to work effectively away from the office.

“For non-clinical staff, firstly this meant sourcing enough PPE to make the working environment safe and our infection control lead worked incredibly hard to find the correct PPE so staff were protected. Logistically, many of our services were taken away from their traditional setting in the hospice and staff were enabled with the equipment they needed to get out and see patients in the community. Staff relished the opportunity to be able to perform their role in a different way and were empowered to make the changed they felt were needed to care for our patients.

“Furloughed staff have not been ignored either. This group of people, mainly in our retails team, have been regularly contacted to ensure they’re okay.

“Ultimately, employees are happy (and many are happier!) working in this new way. Many have adapted to enormous change in their working environment and are relishing the opportunity to work in a new way. Staff have also felt incredibly well engaged with the hospice over the last year thanks to a new staff website giving them important information as well as an opportunity to share what they’ve been up to in a staff gallery - lots of dog walks and banana bread! The hospice is also planning a debrief so we can learn from what the last year has taught us and many of the changes that have been made over the last year will continue to ensure staff feel well connected and cared for by the hospice.”