The city’s heroes of healthcare were recognised at a sparkling event hosted by the Bristol Post on Wednesday 25 October 2017. This year’s Bristol Health and Care Awards winners are just a small handful of the 30,000 people working tirelessly every day in the city’s GP surgeries, hospitals, community centres and research labs.
And while we can’t thank them all individually, it’s clear that Bristolians are grateful for the care and kindness these doctors, nurses, volunteers and researchers offer.
The award ceremony, which took place at the Bristol Harbour Hotel, was compered by GP and comedian Dr Phil Hammond. It welcomed a wide range of health professionals whose achievements have helped change the city for the better. Many of the winners are part of one of the Bristol Health Partners Health Integration Teams (HITs) or one of the partner organisations.
GP Practice of the Year went to Greenway Community Practice. The surgery, on Greystoke Avenue, was recently revealed as the top surgery in Bristol according to patient satisfaction. It serves around 7,000 people in the BS9 and BS10 area, but its large patient list doesn’t detract from its quality care.
All families Greenway serves have a named GP, facilitating strong GP-patient relationships and continuity of care. Doctors also use each other’s special interests and skills to give patients the best treatments ‘in-house’.
Healthcare Professional of the Year went to Dr Dominique Thompson, who is director of the Student’s Health Service at the University of Bristol.
Nominated by a former student who credits Dr Thompson with saving his life, the good doctor is known as a tireless campaigner for the promotion of young people’s health, the promotion of mental health, student healthcare funding and eating disorders. She is part of the Eating Disorders HIT and the Improving Care in Self-Harm HIT, also known as STITCH.
“I was shaking when I went up on stage but it's wonderful to feel appreciated. And it's such a great night – a lovely setting with fantastic people. Thank you so much to Gareth, who nominated me.”
Gareth Griffith, who nominated Dr Thompson, said:
“Personally I would not be here were it not for her. Over the past six years she has helped me navigate through my own diagnosis of depression, to the point where I currently am, about to finish a PhD.”
The Healthy Lifestyle award went to Active Choices Exercise Referral Scheme, which has been helping Bristolians of all ages, shapes and sizes lead a healthier life.
The scheme is an introduction to physical activity and tailored around participants' health conditions – and so anyone can get involved without the worry that they will become overwhelmed. It then helps its clients achieve whatever goal they have set, be it reducing weight, improving mental health or one of many other conditions.
Volunteer Team of the Year went to Bluebell Care – a small team of women helping to destigmatise mental health issues in new parents. Bluebell Place, in the heart of Bristol city centre, is a drop-in centre run by a close-knit team all with experiences in post-natal depression.
The centre started supporting families in September 2016 after heavy campaigning and fundraising from Bluebell CEO Ruth Jackson. Since opening, the centre has had hundreds of parents through the doors. These parents may otherwise have gone unsupported, felt very isolated and may well have gone on to become extremely unwell.
Ruth and the Bluebell Care team are part of the Improving Perinatal Mental Health HIT.
Healthcare Team of the Year was awarded to Bristol Children’s Emergency Department, part of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UHBristol). The team at the emergency department are a remarkable bunch – 24 hours a day, every day of the year they are there to look after sick and injured children from Bristol and the whole of the South West.
Owing to the large and densely populated area that it services, it is one of the busiest A&E departments in the UK. Despite this, all its team members have a deep commitment to working together to look after children, as well as each other.
The Best Innovation award was given to Open Bionics. Founded in 2014, Open Bionics creates advanced bionic hands for amputees using 3D scanning and 3D printing technology. It is based inside the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, the largest robotics research centre in Europe, and a collaboration between the Universities of the West of England and Bristol.
Of its many success stories, one that has excelled its reach to worldwide acclaim is its partnership with Disney. In 2015, it announced a royalty-free licensing deal with the iconic brand to create official Iron Man, Star Wars, and Disney Frozen bionic hands for young amputees.
The Research Impact award went to the University of Bristol for its study into heart attack tissue damageits study into heart attack tissue damage.
The study, which took place at the Bristol Heart Institute looks at stem cells and how these cells, extracted from the heart and veins, can alleviate the suffering of patients. It may have important implications for the treatment of heart attacks and also for cancer.
The final award of the night, the Outstanding Achievement award, was given to Tony Hall. After Tony’s wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he found there was a gap in support offered to dementia patients and their partners. Since then, he has campaigned tirelessly to make Bristol a more dementia-friendly city. Tony is involved in the Dementia Health Integration Team.