The Fabbest of the Fab (Part 3)


Deborah Glover MBE,  Editor PCNR

BSc (Joint Hons), Dip. Care Policy & Management, RGN

The Penguin Award

Department of Health with SAPHNA, QNI and the RCN

Sometimes a problem or issue is too challenging or substantial to be overcome by just one person. Penguins have known this and demonstrate the most extraordinary teamwork to protect themselves from adversity. This is an award for a team who has prevailed in the face of adversity

We recognised the health and wellbeing of young carers could be improved, particularly given the number of young carers is increasing year on year.

Data from the 2011 census, shows nearly a quarter of a million people aged 19 and under in England and Wales were caring for parents, siblings and others. These young carers may remain hidden due to the fear of being identified, not realising they are a young carer or through professionals not acknowledging their role and therefore failing to identify and support them.

Key statistics:

  • 9% of the 166,363 young carers in England care for 50 hours a week or more (census 2011)
  • 80% care for 1-19 hours per week; and 11% for 20 – 49 hours per week
  • 22% of young people under 16 in the UK (2.6 million) live with a hazardous drinker
  • In the UK, 335,000 children live with a drug dependent parent

Young carers have significantly lower educational attainment at GCSE level, the equivalent of nine grades lower overall then their peers e.g. the difference between nine Bs and nine Cs.

Many young carers are not identified or chose not to be, this can be for many reasons, for example fear of being removed from the family home or not wanting to be stigmatised. We recognised that school nursing teams as a universal service could have a vital role to play in supporting young carers and embarked on a programme to raise awareness of young carers needs.

The department of health has worked with SAPHNA, QNI and RCN plus the children’s society and carers trust to look at the role of school nurses and how they could be supported to be more young carer aware. From the outset of the work young carers themselves were involved and they shaped the way froward. Young carers designed the art work for the badge school nurses who are carer aware to wear.

The work has a number of kept elements training, pathways and champion pledges. On the training we held champion for young carer events for school nurses – young carers were involved in training school nurses and interviewing them to ensure they all pledged to make a difference locally.

We have about 300 school nurse champions now and the numbers are growing. The pledges range from designing information about young carers for schools to whole service redesign.

Pathways – we worked with partners and the profession to develop guidance for practitioners and commissioners to support the needs of carers.

This was launched last year with a powerful blog from a young carer. Local services are reporting this has helped to influence commissioning services and drawing in funding from local authorities.

Resource development – QNI and the RCN have developed on line training for school nurses: . The resources are user friendly and can be used at the practitioners pace.

In addition, a number of carer summits have been held for nurses to attend to learn about the resources, pathways and to share good practice. The event held this week by QNI illustrated examples of school nurses and wider community nurses making a difference every day for carers. Young carers have been key partners in this work and recognised for their contribution.


Rosa Parks Award

Motiv8 North West Wales - Promoting the links between mental health and activity

An award for those who have been brave enough to reject mindless conformity and find a new, inspiring and effective means of doing something.

We serve Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy. Our co productive working ( service users, tertiary mental health organisations and NHS occupational therapists) organise an annual event with free taster sessions of activities including football, pool, dance, archery, badminton, spinning & weaving, art, crafts and more!

Post taster sessions are also offered to encourage regular activity. We also have over 30 information stalls providing support and advice from mental health specific and mainstream organisations so that people can choose how best to maintain their mental and physical health.

Motiv8 has become an important and popular event as people feel able to connect with others, have fun and not feel so isolated in such a rural location.

This year we’re organising our first #Awalkinmyshoes to raise funds for Motiv8 projects as well as raise awareness of the benefits of walking to mental and physical health. We’re joined by local walking groups so people can choose to continue the activity on a regular basis. We plan to make #Awalkinmyshoes another annual event.


TNT Award

Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Often the biggest impacts are made by the smallest actions, and the Academy of Fab NHS Stuff wants to recognise, share and celebrate everything, no matter how small – hence the TNT or ‘Tiny Noticeable Things’ award for a project or person that has embodied this sentiment.

Mental health problems are challenging for the individual, but also for all who know and love that person. Add to that the label of ‘Alcoholic’ and life becomes very lonely, no matter how many of your friends and family are trying their very best to help support and protect you.

Elizabeth Meatyard, the nurse driving this initiative, had such a friend who spent the final 8 weeks of his life were spent in hospital. During her visits she noticed that too often, his meals were left untouched, cling-film in situ, as were fluids. This became a focus for her; there were always quite a few patients requiring help with their meals, and many more who just needed a little encouragement (for example, with tomato ketchup sachets).

Dining Companions was the solution

Volunteer help on wards at mealtimes specifically to help patients with their meal was the answer. From opening those wretched ketchup sachets to assisting the patient to eat their meal, even a little sing song if it could help! The plan was to recruit volunteers from the community and within the non-clinical departments of the hospital. Volunteers commit to at least 1 mealtime session (1hr) every 3 weeks.

 ‘Dining Companions’ has been welcomed, supported and embraced by the Executive Leadership Team. The Chief Executive Kate Grimes is a regular volunteer on the wards, as is the Chairman Sian Bates, the Director of Communications Lisa Ward, many of the Non Executive Directors, a few Governors, staff within the finance department….

If you ask Kate what the benefits are, Elizabeth hopes she would say that ‘Dining Companions’ affords an opportunity to help as part of the ward team, to deliver a better mealtime service to patients. This is so much more useful than set piece observations, because now you are doing it, seeing it, and, understanding it. Taking a different perspective which may give you some very different answers to all manner of issues you have discussed in the meeting room.

Recruiting volunteers from the community is also hugely beneficial as they have a role as a patient advocate. Dining Companions are encouraged to ‘notice’ things that perhaps could be done better. They have an opportunity to voice their thoughts at regular review meetings and of course contact the hospital at any time if there is a pressing need

We manage our own Google calendar so that flexibility is assured. The calendar is online and fed through to the Hospital so that they can monitor. It is important to make the point that all volunteers undergo specifically tailored training and of course all the required security checks before being allowed to take part in the scheme.