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Winners of the 2020 Excellence Awards

An announcement of the winners of the 2020 HSE Staff Excellence Awards

Published: 13 July 2020

Every day across the health service our staff do wonderful work in our primary care, acute and national service settings.  The Health Service Excellence Awards are an opportunity to showcase and celebrate this good work, share our success stories, and learn from other teams across the health service. In 2020 COVID-19 is one of the greatest challenges facing these services.  But during this pandemic, we have demonstrated our ability to quickly adapt and support patents and service users in new ways.

With a record number of entries, 2020 has yet again proven the quality and innovation out there. Acknowledging the high standard of the entries, CEO Paul Reid said:

"The unprecedented high level of entries this year is evidence of local leadership working collaboratively towards a common purpose, demonstrating creativity and excellence in approaching and addressing local issues and in creating a caring compassionate culture, and inspiring innovation."

Although the judges had an unenviable task, seven amazing projects have been singled out as category winners in the Health Service Excellence Awards 2020.

Championing Mental Health

In the ‘Championing Mental Health’ category, the award went to the National Mental Health Service for their individual placement and support (IPS) in the mental health service. Over 150 participants in the project are currently in competitive employment.

Its job placement ethos centres around the ‘place and support’ rather than the traditional model of ‘train and place’.

IPS is an evidence-based approach to employment for people who experience mental health difficulties. In partnership with contracted employment agencies, 28 adult community mental health and rehab and recovery teams across Ireland have Employment Specialists embedded within their teams supporting participants into open market employment.

The judges noted that the project creates outcomes that are measurable and there is a clear impact for service users and society.

Excellence in Quality Care

The ‘Excellence in Quality Care’ award was given to Clonskeagh Community Nursing Unit for its transformation into a ‘butterfly home’ to improve the lived experience of people living with dementia.

There are four private butterfly homes in Ireland; this is the first HSE initiative.

The project involves a transformation from Medical Model of Care to Social Care Model and reducing barriers (uniforms, languages, ‘them and us’ barriers). 

The judges commented that the team showed significant drive at local level and demonstrated ‘it's not what you say, it’s how you make me feel’. They also highlighted that it showed engagement from a local team who are continuing to challenge themselves and put themselves in their patients’ shoes.

“It is an honour [to win], we all know that each of us have a role to play in this right from every department, every team including residents and family,” said a representative from Clonskeagh Community Nursing Unit.

Innovation in Integrated Digital Excellence

In the category of ‘Innovation in Integrated Digital Excellence’, St John of God Liffey Services received the plaudits for their project, Digital Platforms Integrating Multimedia Advocacy to Support Person-Centred Planning.

The project group’s focus was ensuring they created a transparent and accessible person-centred planning system.

The added value of using a digital platform ensures that the plan owner can access their plans and goal tracking on their smart device using assistive technology and accessible multimedia content.

The judges commented that this project demonstrated alternatives to traditional ways of communication through innovative thinking, and were impressed with the sheer determination, genuine commitment and high energy among the team.

Improving Our Children’s Health

For ‘Improving Our Children’s Health’, the Nurture Programme took home the category award.

The programme is a quality improvement initiative designed to improve information and professional supports provided to parents during pregnancy and the first three years of life. It includes antenatal education standards and information, online and print resources for parents and professionals, a standardised national record and a blended-learning training programme.

Children’s early years impact on their lifelong health and wellbeing. This project provides parents with practical, accessible and evidence-based information to empower them to take up their role as experts in their children, giving them the best start in life. It supports professionals to deliver quality universal child health service.

“We’re so delighted to accept this award on behalf of everybody who is part of our work,” said one of the programme team.

Improving Patient Care

A project that cut waiting times for patients from up to four years to less than 12 weeks took home the prize in the ‘Improving Patient Care’ category.

The Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) Gynaecology Waiting List initiative was designed to tackle the highest gynaecology outpatient waiting list in Ireland in the short term and work towards a sustainable model of service delivery and patient care in the medium term.

“We’re proud as punch to have won, thanks very much,” said one of the team upon hearing about the prestigious award win.

The project aimed to reduce the waiting list to below 1000, with an average 12-week wait time. A new and innovative approach was implemented. Patients were reclassified into eight major diagnostic groups, an online booking system was used, and outreach clinics, additional weekend and evening clinics, gynaecology initiative week

Innovation in Service Delivery

The Innovation in Service Delivery award went to the North Tipperary Community Mental Health Services for its unique tenancy support service that has been preventing homelessness.

The North Tipperary Intensive Tenancy Sustainable Service offers intensive tenancy support to adults with mental health difficulties who may be homeless or at risk of homelessness. Two dedicated members of staff source quality accommodation, working in partnership with the relevant community services. They are employed by Focus Ireland but are completely integrated into Community Mental Health Teams. It’s the first model like this in the country and links with other partner agencies Focus Ireland and Tipperary Co Council. 

The judges praised the fact that service users are supported in a completely integrated service and it is a holistic person-centred, multi-agency service. 

Supporting a Healthy Community

For their work ‘Supporting a Healthy Community’, the win went to the Gaming Group project from Wexford Adult Mental Health Services, with judges praising their ‘out-of-the-box thinking’.

A weekly group for a vulnerable group of young mental health service users who experience social exclusion and barriers to community engagement was organised in Wexford. A strong shared interest in gaming led to the development of a dedicated games room. The group now meets every fortnight to game and plan activities for the following week, such as laser tag and bowling.

It was a collaboration between LINK Training, Wexford Mental Health Association and Wexford OT Department.

Judges praised the success of the group in identifying a means of connecting with a hard to reach group. 

 “We felt honoured and proud to receive this award as it recognises the important role of lived experience, peer support and co-production in supporting a healthy community,” said a representative for the group.

Exceeding Expectations - Outstanding Employee Award

Congratulations to Christy Kelly, Physio Assistant in St James’ Hospital and Mary O’Rourke, Senior Medical Social Worker in CHI@Crumlin who are joint winners of the ‘Outstanding Employee Award’ this year.

Congratulating all of the participants this year, National Director of HR, Anne Marie Hoey said

"Really innovative changes for the better are being delivered by front-line staff. It is very encouraging to hear their stories I would like to congratulate each of the teams that submitted their projects to the2020 Health Service Excellence Awards, to acknowledge their managers who supported the entries, and to especially congratulate the Category Winners and those projects that were Highly Commended and Commended by the Selection Panel."

Read more about the winners, commended projects and shortlisted entries.