Therapy dog Izzy with owner Margaret Leason (left)

A loveable therapy dog has got her paws on one of the 15 awards on offer at the Trust’s annual awards ceremony for continuously putting smiles on the faces of our patients.

Seven-year-old Lhasa Apso Izzy pays a special visit to both Queen’s Hospital Burton and Samuel Johnson Community Hospital each week to brighten up the days of patients receiving care on the wards.

Izzy is one of a number of therapy dogs that come in to meet patients across the Trust’s five hospitals, with the visits really helping improve patients’ hospital experience by lifting morale and reducing anxiety and boredom.

The PRIDE Awards honour the excellent staff and volunteers working across our hospitals in Burton, Tamworth and Lichfield, with Izzy and owner Margaret Leason winning an ‘Award for Volunteer Contribution’ for helping “brighten up the day” of our patients.

Margaret said: “The majority of people that we see are elderly patients who have had dogs before, so it is fantastic to see how many people lighten up when Izzy comes to visit on the wards. As a volunteer, it is really rewarding to be able to make patients feel a bit better and to sit down and have a chat with them about their lives. Izzy always seems to know what the patients want individually and just loves the attention; when we arrive each week, she literally drags me into the hospital with her tail wagging like crazy! It was unexpected but it is great to have won this award, although it is all about Izzy!”

In total, 15 awards were handed out at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton PRIDE Awards at a ceremony held at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium on Friday, 26 October.

Colorectal Consultant Surgeon Mr Ioannis Virlos was awarded a ‘Gem of Gems Award’ for the compassion shown when successfully treating a patient with cancer in the colon after taking the time to explain the pros and cons of having the operation.

In the nomination form, the patient’s daughter said of Mr Virlos: “Mum still has a mountain to climb but the care and compassion show by Mr Virlos hasn’t gone unnoticed and definitely helped mum along the way. We cannot thank Mr Virlos enough for what he has done and think he should be recognised for the wonderful job he does.”

Another to be recognised was ITU Sister Louise Wood, who claimed the ‘Patient Experience Award’ for “spending countless hours of her own time” developing programmes designed to help patients come to terms with the long-lasting effects of their critical illness.

Louise also recently showcased amazing compassion and respect to one patient by providing them with regular psychological, social and physical support, and even running the Derby Half Marathon for the patient’s chosen charity.

Each of the 15 winners from the PRIDE Awards can be found below:

  • Chief Executive’s Award ‘Be The Best’ – Sister Eloise Buckley and Ward 14
  • Chairman’s Award “Living Our Values” – Daniel Neuchterlien, OT Assistant
  • Passion for Excellence Award – Clinical Care – Enhanced Care Team
  • Passion for Excellence Award – Patient Experience – ITU Sister Louise Wood
  • Compassion and Respect Award – Barbara Yates
  • Innovation and Improvement Award – Sally Jackson, TC Ophthalmology Department
  • Team of the Year – Clinical Coding
  • Rising Star award – Joanne Webster, Apprentice HSW, SSU
  • Back Office Brilliance Award – Claire Rowe
  • Support Superstars Award – Lauren Gray
  • Award for Volunteer Contribution – Jean Cauldwell
  • GRIT Award for Determination – Catering Admin team – Emma L Smith
  • Award for Volunteer Contribution – Margaret Leeson and Izzy the therapy dog
  • Gem of Gems 2017 – Mr Ioannis Virlos, Consultant Surgeon
  • Gem of Gems 2018 – Andrea Vaughan

Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive of University Hospitals of Derby and Burton, said: “The extraordinary lengths that all of our staff go to in order to put the needs of our patients first never fails to impress me. It is fantastic that we get the opportunity to highlight some of this work through these awards and so I would like to thank all of the sponsors and organisers that helped make the night possible. The ceremony allowed us to offer a small thank you to our staff for their commitment to providing the best possible care.”