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Nurse director's son inspires Nursing Times award win

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An innovative programme inspired by personal experience saw deputy director of nursing Carol Edwards and her team at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals win the top award at last night’s Nursing Times Awards.

The Chief Nursing Officer’s award was chosen by Dame Christine Beasley and award sponsor NHS Derbyshire County director of nursing and quality Maggie Boyd from among the winners of the 14 other award categories.

It recognised six years of work to improve the care received by people with learning difficulties which culminated in the recent appointment of a dedicated learning disabilities nurse.

The judging panel said: “The winner showed exceptional leadership in supporting learning disabilities in acute settings.

“The determination and commitment has also resulted in investments paying for themselves. This model could also be very easily transferred to other acute hospitals which why it stood out.”

One of the winning team, stroke nurse Pamela McCarthy, told Nursing Times: “It all started when Carol’s son, who has learning difficulties, got a letter from the hospital.

“He recognised his name and took it to his room but he couldn’t read it and Carol got a phone call asking why he had missed his appointment. She realised we were sending out inappropriate letters ad that really got the ball rolling.

“She put in a team and trained up staff on the wards about caring for people with learning disabilities in hospital.

“We can identify people when they come into A&E so we know if they’re in hospital.Stopping people with learning disabilities presenting at A&E inappropriately.”

Ms McCarthy, who has just retired from her role, added: “The programme was made by people with learning disabilities for people with learning disabilities and the whole team feel absolutely passionate about improving care within an acute setting.”

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