An innovative project that puts children at the heart of young patients’ experience at Walsall Manor Hospital has picked up a national award.
The Little Voices project, developed by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Patient Relations & Experience Team, beat strong competition to win the category of Communicating Effectively accolade in The Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA).
The project then went on to be crowned the overall winners at the awards, which will see Walsall Healthcare work in collaboration with PENNA over the next 12 months.
The team was delighted to have been recognised for its work on Little Voices which has seen it partner with Pelsall Village School to work with “inspectors” (a group of pupils) to review paediatric services for Walsall children and young people.
They have worked on “Little Steps” which is a children and young people’s version of the 15 Steps Challenge – a suite of toolkits that explores different healthcare settings through the eyes of patients and relatives.
Garry Perry, Associate Director – Patient Relations & Experience at Walsall Healthcare, said: “We are over the moon to have won this award as we are just so proud of the Little Voices project.
“The children who have been working with us have been absolute stars and have given us invaluable insight and feedback into the services we provide for our communities. Seeing our organisation through their eyes and hearing them speak so passionately about the things we do well and the things we could change has been really thought provoking. And they have presented this feedback to the senior leaders in our organisation in such a confident and professional way that we could all learn from them!
“To us, this is what meaningful engagement looks like and to have this recognised at a national level is so important.”
The team was also shortlisted for The Power of a cup of tea in the Staff Engagement category for creating the Manor Lounge to offer a comfortable space where staff can take a break and enjoy free drinks and snacks, as well as chat to volunteers. This won the ‘best poster display’ on the day.
Originally set up to provide staff with space to take a break from the pressures of the pandemic, this facility has expanded to support staff through the current cost-of-living crisis.
Caroline Whyte, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer at the Trust, added: “Huge congratulations to the team for the passion and enthusiasm staff bring to initiatives such as Little Voices.
“We are committed to enhancing our patients’ experience – across all age groups – and we know children and young people can be extremely honest in their observations which is exactly how true engagement should work. This has been a successful and effective partnership and long may it continue.”
PENNA are the first and only awards programme to recognise best practice in patient experience across all facets of health and social care in the UK. Winners were announced yesterday at an event at the University of Birmingham.