Her work to provide better support to homeless TB patients has won a dedicated Walsall Healthcare colleague an award.
Sasikala Ravikumar has received a COVID-19 Heroes Award from the Northern Tamil Association (NTA) because of the work she did for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Quality Improvement (QI) programme.
The Senior TB Nurse Specialist was invited to an awards ceremony in Manchester by the NTA which invited COVID-19 heroes from a Tamil background to attend the celebrations. This also coincided with the association’s 35th year anniversary as well as its annual Diwali celebrations.
The QI Academy provides colleagues with the aim of increasing capacity, capability and confidence of staff across the organisation to improve services for the people of Walsall and beyond.
Sasikala created a homeless pathway after seeing the process of patients on the wards with active TB who were also homeless.
She explained: “I had one patient who was staying on the ward for more than three months since he had no fixed address. He had to be discharged to continue his anti TB treatment at home. However since he had no home of his own he had to stay on another family’s sofa for two weeks.
“During those two weeks I spoke to a Lead Nurse at Walsall Council who set up a meeting with all health protection and housing leads. I attended the meeting and informed them how we are using acute beds for homeless TB patients and that we were also wasting NHS resources when we could be utilising the bed status more wisely if we had free accommodation for our patients in the community .
“After this meeting we received £4,000 to house our first patient with TB. His life changed. He had two jobs and a polish passport at the end of his anti TB treatment. After this success story, we have a homeless pathway in place.”
Sasikala was nominated by her friends after they saw the award on Facebook and thought she was the perfect candidate for it.
When asking how it felt to be nominated and to win, the mother-of-two said: “I felt very happy and honoured and really appreciated.”
She added: As I am from South India and I speak Tamil, I was extremely privileged to be recognised by the Northern Tamil Association on their 35th year anniversary and Diwali celebration.
It wasn’t just Sasikala who was pleased but also her TB team who she works alongside.
She said: “When I told them about the award, all my team, consultants and care group managers were very pleased for me and they all congratulated me. It’s great to have such a supportive work family.”