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The importance of awards

The Cancer Implementation Manager for the Allied Health Professions (AHPs) at NHS England discusses the Chief AHP Officer Awards and how applying for awards can boost morale, spread great ideas and ultimately improve care for people with cancer:

The 2019 Chief Allied Health Professions Officer’s Awards were recently launched by Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, Suzanne Rastrick.

We are delighted that this year there is Clinical Focus Award for Cancer in partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support.

Finding time to share the work of your team can be difficult, there are always other pressing issues and sometimes it can feel uncomfortable shouting about the difference you make.  However, taking the time to tell people about the ways in which AHPs are transforming cancer care is important for a number of reasons.

Firstly, we often find ourselves working in professional silos which limits our ability to learn from one another.  Sharing ideas is an important part of the change process, it helps to drive improvement in patient care and outcomes by increasing adoption and spread.

Neil Bibby, Macmillan Senior Dietitian at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, was recently awarded the Macmillan Service improvement excellence award in recognition of the work of the Macmillan Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Cancer Prehabilitation team.

Neil said: “Winning an award has allowed us to connect with others completing similar work and look at how we can make further improvements. It has allowed me to sit on a national working group looking at prehabilitation in the UK and will hopefully ensure more patients can benefit from our work.”

You can read more about Neil’s work and follow his progress and connect on Twitter @neilbibby87.

Secondly, applying for awards helps to raise the profile of the contribution that AHPs make to patient care across the cancer pathway.

Tracey Ellis, Macmillan Consultant Radiographer in Prostate Cancer at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, recently won two awards; the Macmillan Innovation Excellence Award and a Macmillan Fellowship Award.

Tracey said: “Winning awards helps to raise awareness of smaller AHP professions such as therapeutic radiography and the potential that individuals have to push the traditional boundaries of these roles.”

You can read more about Tracey’s awards and follow her progress via Twitter @TraceyEllis22@LancsHospRT.

Finally, awards offer a great opportunity to shout about the work you’ve been doing and to inspire others.  They give you a chance to celebrate success and to get some well-deserved recognition for your team as Claire Knowles, Prehabilitation Lead Physiotherapist at Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, explains: “Receiving this award highlighted to me the importance of therapists being openly proud of their work. As a professional group we often don’t promote the work we do as there isn’t a culture for it. I’ve seen some brilliant examples of innovative work by AHPs in cancer care at conferences this year!”

Claire won the Proud of Aintree Divisional Award (Diagnostic and Clinical Support Services) for her work on cancer prehabilitation.  You can connect on Twitter to follow her progress @theprehabphysio @AintreeHospital.

The deadline for the Chief AHP Officer awards is 10 May 2019 so there is plenty of time to get your ideas together and plan your submission.

Remember that the process of working with your team to bring an application together is valuable in itself, it can remind you of what you have achieved and often gives clarity about future directions.  We look forward to receiving your submissions and good luck!

Dr Anna Lowe

Dr Anna Lowe is Cancer Implementation Manager for the Allied Health Professions (AHPs) at NHS England. This involves supporting the role of AHPs in helping to deliver the national cancer strategy and raising the profile of the contribution of AHPs to cancer care.

Alongside this, Anna is a Physical Activity Clinical Champion at Public Health England.

Anna is a physiotherapist and has had previous roles in higher education, research and clinical practice.

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