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Hospital staff honoured for ‘calm, composed’ response to ward blaze

“Calm, composed and effective training from fire marshall Pat Howells (now known as Fireman Pat)” saved patients from potentially serious injury.

Brave hospital staff whose actions ensured the safety of patients during a devastating fire have received a surprise award.

It was announced during the Swansea Bay University Health Board Chairman’s VIP Awards on Thursday evening, prompting a standing ovation from the audience.

The workers from ward 12 at Swansea’s Singleton Hospital were told by Chairman Professor Andrew Davies their “calm, composed and effective training from fire marshall Pat Howells (now known as Fireman Pat)” saved patients from potentially serious injury.
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Professor Davies said he and Swansea Bay’s Chief Executive Tracy Myhill decided to honour staff as they had been so impressed by their response to the emergency in March.

He said: “All the staff have said that if it hadn’t been for the training that Pat had undertaken so positively, there may have been more serious damage and maybe harm to patients and staff.”

Few knew the specially-created award was to be handed out during the health board’s fifth annual VIP (Values Into Practice) ceremony hosted by radio presenter Kev Johns.

The awards, voted for by staff and the public, celebrate some of the most inspiring work being undertaken by staff who have gone above and beyond.

The announcement of the special award was greeted with cheers and a spontaneous standing ovation by colleagues from across the health board.

Since the fire ward 12, an oncology ward, has been relocated to ward 20 at Singleton Hospital while repairs take place.

Many other health board staff members and volunteers were also honoured for their innovation and commitment during the glittering occasion at Margam Organgery.

Jackie Cadmore who, at 80, is almost a decade older than the NHS itself, was awarded one of two Chair’s Challenge cups for her stalwart work as a clerical officer at Singleton Hospital.

She first joined the health service as a 17-year-old trainee nurse in Morriston Hospital during the days of strict matrons and starched sheets in 1956.

The other Challenge Cup recipient was operating theatre nurse Dominique Potokar for her work to improve burns care in developing countries through the Interburns international volunteer network.

Gorseinon Community Hospital Multidisciplinary Team and Hospital to Home Scheme were honoured with the Always Improving Award.

Since December 2018, they have made significant changes and improvements, which make it safer and easier for patients to move around and socialise during their recovery.

Ms Myhill said: “As your Chief Executive I love nothing more than hearing of all the wonderful things our people are doing to support the people we serve.

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The Gorseinon Community Hospital MDT and Hospital to Home Team received the Always Improving Award

“Recognising and celebrating our people and their achievement is a fundamental part of how we do things here at Swansea Bay. Events such as these are an opportunity for us to say thank you for your sterling work throughout the year.”

A successful annual appeal, which collects hundreds of bags of donations of clothes, toiletries and other essentials from health board staff to support rough sleepers and the vulnerably housed in the Swansea area, scooped both the Caring For Each Other and Ultimate VIP awards.

Run for five years by mental health nurse Pat Dwan and homelessness nurse Janet Keauffling in conjunction with the health board’s communications department and homeless charity The Wallich, it distributes donations to those most in need during the coldest months and throughout the rest of the year.

Unfortunately Pat, who has been one of the project’s leading lights, was on holiday and unable to attend the awards.

Dr Manju Nair and midwives Sharon Jones and Catrin Ellis’ fundraising work, which led to the purchase of a double bed for bereaved families to spend precious time together, received the Going the Extra Mile Award.

Their passion encouraged colleagues to join their Bollywood dance group, which performed during a fundraising event.

Attention to the details that make a world of difference to patients and their families scooped the Working Together Award for the Neuro Rehabilitation Unit Team at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

Examples of that individual and compassionate care include buying a Valentine’s Day card for a patient who was too ill to leave the ward so they could give it to their partner and ensuring therapy and nursing interventions do not clash with meal times. Staff also work with patients on art and craft projects and ensure the unit has a homely feel.

The Working Together Award went to the Neuro Rehabilitation Unit Team

Professor Davies, who is stepping down as chairman, said: “To provide such care requires passion and commitment from motivated, dedicated and loyal staff who learn, develop and improve what they do, so we can provide a first class service.”

The health board wishes to thank the many sponsors who made this event possible: The College of Human & Health Sciences at Swansea University; Gower College, Swansea; Medacs Healthcare; Allocate; the Ospreys; Blake Morgan; Ferry Flowers and Gifts, the Royal College of Nursing and Neath Port Talbot College.

On the night £1,341.40 was also raised for the health board’s charitable fund through a raffle and table envelopes.

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