North West Awards

On Thursday 12 November 2020 the North West Division enjoyed an evening of celebration with more than 70 Division members logging on to our Virtual Awards Ceremony 2020.

It was the third year we have run the awards, and again we heard some incredible stories of people who have put in truly amazing work to support mental health care.

Hosted by Division Chair Dr Declan Hyland, and with special guest speaker President Adrian James of RCPsych, attendees included students, trainees, patients and consultants.

The winners of the NW Division Awards 2020 are below, along with words on why they were nominated.

A huge congratulations to all of you.

Service User of the Year - Georgina Forman

Georgina has volunteered as a ‘peer supporter’, for over 10 years, acting as a role model to patients. She offers her time listening to patients and families and supporting them in early difficult stages of treatment. Georgina will also act as ‘sponsor’ to new patients, introducing them to recovery programs that assist in improving an individual’s mental health. 

Georgina is regular patient representative member on interview panels assisting in recruitment of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. She assists in training of health professionals with regards to addictions and is well received. Georgina is also a member of Clinical Governance and her input is invaluable.

She does routine and robust ‘quality walk-arounds’ (as part of quality assurance and improvement) and has been instrumental in influencing change in patient care, service delivery and environmental changes.

Georgina has a genuine gift of establishing meaningful connection with patients. She has changed the lives of many for better and thereby their families and community.

Carer Contributor of the Year - Lee Mainey

Lee has been generous with her time and has completed questionnaires, taken part in CQC forums and worked with the communication team to provide a narrative for new build Rowan View, which has informed carers and significant others of the service. 

Before Covid-19, Lee was an active participant in the carer’s forums and spoke openly about the challenges she has faced caring in the community.  Providing her  experience to others has lifted the lid on stigma and marginalisation and has allowed other carers to realise that they are not alone. 

Lee has willingly volunteered to attend in professional reviews to provide the carer's prospective; providing an honest and open account of her experiences both in the community as a carer but also about the service her son, herself and her family have received during their contact with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. 

Additionally, Lee has played an integral part in the development of a carers app that will provide other families with key information based on her own experience of what family members wish to understand when their loved one is admitted to a secure facility.  

Her contributions have helped to improve services and response to carers’ needs.

Medical Student of the Year - Dr Benjamin Geers

Benjamin is President of the University of Manchester PsychSoc and a co-founder of the UoM PsychSoc national virtual journal club series, in collaboration with RCPsych. Benjamin has demonstrated innovation, having also founded the University of Manchester Student Balint Society.

Benjamin has presented research on 'A Neuropsychological Study of Chromatin Disorders’ both as a speaker at INSPIRE National Medical Students Conference, 2020, and in poster format at RCPsych North West Division Autumn Conference 2019.

During the last academic year, Benjamin studied a Master of Research in Medical Sciences. His project assessed between psychosocial and socioeconomic risk factors and IBS using UK Biobank data. The project is now registered on the UK Biobank website and is ongoing. 

He won a Bursary to attend the to attend the RCPsych Faculty of Eating Disorders Psychiatry & European Chapter of Academy for Eating disorders Meeting 2019.

This year a paper Benjamin co-authored with Dr Ahmed Hankir during his first year of medical school on reducing mental health-related sigma was cited by the World Health Organization.

Foundation Doctor of the Year - Dr Chloe Cropper

Dr Cropper is a member of Feedback Orientated Observed Teaching (FOOT) group, established to prepare medical students for final year examinations and foundation training.

She presented a poster at the BAPIO conference in September on a survey regarding GP trainee and trainer experience, and has shown fantastic resilience during the first wave while working on the acute psychiatric wards.

She has been involved in ward activities to keep the staff and morale up.

To add on this, Dr Cropper has an excellent attitude towards learning and patient care. She has gone over and beyond with patient care and ensuring that her patients deserve the highest quality of care possible. 

Core Trainee of the Year -  Dr Gursharan Johal

Dr Johal is an academic clinical fellow undertaking an MRES in research regarding global suicide prevention strategies at The University of Manchester. She has always strived to support and reach out to medical students and trainees who are interested in academia, particularly those who come from non-academic backgrounds themselves and consequently may be hesitant. 

Dr Johal is also a gold level “Pride in Practice” champion, having completed extensive training in LGBT healthcare and advocacy with the LGBT Foundation in Manchester. She has strived to share this knowledge wherever she works and has proudly volunteered in schemes to make psychiatry a more inclusive environment for staff, and patients.

Further to this, Dr Johal dedicates a considerable amount of her own time and resources as the HEE EDI Quality Improvement Co-Lead, by teaching, supervising, and mentoring North West trainees across all specialties in how to undertake stringent and high quality research in EDI issues.

During the pandemic, Dr Johal liaised with trust managers and local trainees to ensure safe and effective redeployment. Meanwhile, she continued to diligently & effectively represent trainees as the BMA Junior Doctor Conference Chair. 

She assisted in the initiation of an evening autism screening service at Salford CAMHS. 

Higher Trainee of the Year  - Dr Alex Till

Chair of RCPsych Psychiatric Trainees’ Committee (Sept 2018/19), Deputy Lead Governor at Mersey Care (Jan 2020), and Trainee of the Year at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS FT (Jan 2020), Dr Till has also played a key role in developing the RCPsych Digital Special Interest Group, and most notably, established the RCPsych Leadership and Management Fellow Scheme (2019/20), which he continues to lead into 2020/21.

Academically, he attained an MBA with distinction, and his dissertation, ‘Routes to the top: the developmental journeys of NHS chief executives’, presented 'a deep understanding of leadership in healthcare' and 'tackled problems not previously addressed in the literature', subsequently being published in BMJ Leader (Feb 2020).

Dr Till has been re-appointed as Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at Swansea University on the ‘Leadership for the Health Professions’ Masters programme, has completed the AQuA Advanced Improvement Practitioner programme (Oct 2019), supervising an undergraduate’s quality improvement project to attain a national poster presentation at the RCPsych Forensic Faculty Conference (Mar 2020), and through multiple mini-PATs, has demonstrated he is a ‘very supportive senior’, who creates ‘a safe environment’ for his junior colleagues, and has been a ‘valued member of the medical education team who always gets exceptional feedback’.

SAS Doctor of the Year - Dr Jaco Nel

Dr Nel has been a huge inspiration over the last 12 months, taking on the role of Staff Disabled Network Chair at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, leading a number of events to engage and support staff, whilst contributing significantly to the development of the Equality and Diversity strategy. 

During the first wave of COVID-19, Dr Nel took on the responsibility of Clinical Lead for the Intensive Home Treatment team and the Care home Liaison Team, whilst working remotely form home. This was valued across the Old Age Team, where he ensured patients received the treatment they needed.

His leadership of both teams has led to service development including now 'Board Rounds' and 'Zoning' of patients and a streamed-lined process of functional patients through the Old Age service.

Dr Nel’s nominator said “Dr Nel’s resilience and determination to overcome significant personal adversity to make such a massive contribution is one that should be recognised and celebrated.”

Consultant of the Year - Neel Halder

Dr Halder spearheaded service development; creating service specifications and models of care for 4 separate units: Secure Brain Injury, Autism, Deaf Mental Health, Complex Care and Challenging Behavior Unit (Nov 2019 to Feb 2020).

He wrote COVID-19 risk plans for Deaf patients; researching alternative masks and communication strategies, disseminating this information nationally (March- July 2020). 

Dr Halder is an active ID Regional Representative, NW Recruitment lead, Manchester University lecturer, and established a NW Research group (Jan 2020).

He created a ‘local hero award’ for residents of his home town, where he single-handedly canvassed support from local businesses and media, conducted all marketing, and created and distributed hundreds of leaflets. Local charities supported his award ceremony, drawing interest from local media and residents to huge acclaim (Sept 2019). 

He chaired a newly set up national secure ABI forum (March 2020) for all UK brain injury hospitals (NHS & Independent). He is passionate about recruitment and actively contributes to national ID recruitment steering groups and Choose Psychiatry meetings.

He successfully pitched his idea for editing a recruitment book to help all UK psych socs, (RCPsych publication), partly funded by Neel from his ‘I’m a medic’ 2019 national award (where he promoted psychiatry to hundreds of school children).

He was keynote lecturer at Young Researcher’s National Conference (Nov 2019), and is establishing a UK neuropsychiatry undergraduate network.  He has been published 4 times this year (including co-authoring with 2 patients), peer reviewed for several journals, and indeed set the standard for peer reviewing in an APT article with Peter Tyrer and others. 

Psychiatric Trainer of the Year - Adeola Akinola

Dr Akinola has supported trainees in HEENW (trainees across all the Trusts in the Northwest) with preparations for the CASC examination.

Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dr Akinola organized face to face sessions involving experienced examiners and Higher Trainees. Modifications were made following the COVID-19 pandemic. Three sessions were organized virtually.

During a time when trainees where disheartened about the implication of the pandemic on their training/exams, Dr Akinola was able to encourage Consultants and Trainees to run the sessions.  He recognized the unique opportunity of reaching out to international candidates and trainees who were caught up in various lockdowns outside the United Kingdom.

Dr Akinola undertook a research project about the welfare of trainees across HENW which identified gaps with regards to psychological/emotional support available to trainees.

Additionally, Dr Akinola has taken on role of interim-ADME: supporting the organization during a period of leadership structure transition. He is a Member of the GM ethics committee set up during COVID-19 and led virtual Junior Doctor inductions for all in August 2020. As an Educational supervisor, he has gone to great lengths to support Junior Doctors affected by the pandemic.  

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