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Celebrating our Sheffield Children’s Stars 2021!

07 October 2021

The Sheffield Children’s Star Awards event took place this evening (7 October 2021) celebrating colleagues across the Trust for their outstanding work and dedication.

A respiratory consultant at Sheffield Children’s who goes “goes over and above” and has been called a families hero, has been awarded the Children’s Star award for his dedication to supporting, listening to and improving the quality of life of patients and their families.

Dr Hemant Kulkarni, a dedicated respiratory consultant at Sheffield Children’s, was presented with the prestigious award nominated by patients and families. One person who nominated Hemant said: “I really believe if it wasn’t for this lovely kind hearted hero, my little boy would still be struggling for every breath”. Another said: “Their (the patient) quality of life has improved massively due to meeting Dr Kulkarni. He is always friendly and explains things clearly, and he listens to any concerns that we have.”

Another parent nominated Hemant and said: “They always go over and above to ensure by boy is calm. In our last appointment he was happy to complete the appointment in the waiting room as my boy is unsettled in the rooms. He draws with him, and engages with him to take his worries away from the appointment. An all-round fantastic man that deserves awarding for his excellence.”

The Children’s Star team award was given to Ward 5, who were nominated by parents for the incredible care they have provided for their children. One parent spoke about the extremely difficult time they spent over 100 miles away from home while their child was in hospital, while another talked about the strength they gave them while their son was in his last days of life. The judging panel were quite emotional from the stories and felt that they highly deserve such an honour for the outstanding work they do every day supporting patients and their families.

One of the parents said: “The whole ward were amazing and gave me breaks so I can clear my head. Huge support to us both! My son is unable to communicate but they all spoke to him, played with him and comforted him. I really can’t praise them all enough…”

The Sheffield Children’s Star Awards recognised staff from across the Trust, from our Mortuary Team supporting families, behind the scenes work from teams such as IT, Communications and Administration, teams introducing ground breaking new treatment, a whole host of individuals and teams working together to support each other as well as patients and much, much more fantastic work going above and beyond their roles.

Ruth Brown, Acting Chief Executive at Sheffield Children’s, said: “Tonight was our 11th annual Star Awards at Sheffield Children’s, and although we didn’t gather in person it was a fantastic celebration of the hard work that colleagues have done over the past year.

“What a remarkable year it has been – everyone has been incredible and I am so proud!  Everyone is a star in my eyes, providing compassionate care to our patients and families but also to each other.  Tonight was a chance to recognise all Sheffield Children’s colleagues who have gone above and beyond, as well as a chance to reflect on everyone’s fabulous efforts in the past twelve months. Thank you to colleagues across the Trust for always “providing a healthier future for children and young people” in everything you do, we are so proud of the Sheffield Children’s team.”

NHS Professionals sponsored the Best Support Service Award, they said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to support Sheffield Children’s Star Awards again this year, this time sponsoring the Best Support Service Award.

“After an unprecedented 18 months, it’s inspiring to see so many wonderful people nominated for awards – truly making a difference to the Trust, colleagues and ultimately the children and young people in their care.

“An extra special thank you goes to the Security, Portering and Enhanced Support Officers Team who were highly commended and to the IT Team who were winners of the award.

“NHS Professionals look forward to continuing our Partnership with the Trust in the coming year, supporting workforce needs through the Trust Bank.”

You can find out about all the winners and highly commended colleagues below. Thank you everyone for their amazing work!


Compassionate Care Award

Winner (individual) – Amy Hodkin, Community Mental Health Practitioner at Centenary House

Sally Shearer, Director of Nursing, Said: “After working for the Trust for a year, this person joined Centenary House as a Mental Health Practitioner in January this year, which shows that they’ve made an outstanding impression on their colleagues in just nine months. Along with their regular workload, this person was nominated for being at the forefront of arranging and organising social activities in their team, WhatsApp groups, fundraising as well as constructing a Pride display on their site during June. It is someone who above and beyond in their job role. They are full of ideas, team spirit and passion for helping the young people and families they work with. They are described as one of the most compassionate colleagues the nominator has ever worked with.”

Highly Commended (team) – 0-19 Vaccination / School Nursing team

Sally Shearer, Director of Nursing, said:” The highly commended team in this category has relentlessly worked hard throughout the COVID pandemic to provide children and young people with the opportunity to be vaccinated, something that could have been interrupted by school closures. This is really important in preventing other diseases from spreading, giving lifelong health benefits that immunisation offers. I visited the team over the summer holidays, they work in challenging environments but do this with a wonderful sense of humour, putting children and young people at ease developing new ways of delivery, being creative and working compassionately as a team.”

Winner (team) – Mortuary Team

Highly Commended Individual: Katie Rattican, Staff Nurse

Outstanding Leadership Award

Winner: Janelle Gardiner, Head of Speech and Language Therapy

John Williams said: “The judging panel were amazed to see 16 nominations for one person from their colleagues – a truly outstanding achievement and really speaks to your role as a leader!

Highly Commended Individual: Jasmine Tang, Consultant Surgeon

Belonging Together Award

Winner (individual): Christopher Matthews, Theatres

Nick on Chris: “They are always willing to have open discussions about LGBTQ+ issues with colleagues, as well as speaking openly about how to create a non-discriminatory environment for them. They are committed to providing a safe and open environment for colleagues working in theatres. They have been a big endorser of the rainbow badge initiative in the department.”

Winner (team) – Appraisal Team

Highly Commended Team – Eye Department

Nick on the Eye Department team: “The Belonging Together Award is for those who treat colleagues with a high level of respect and have introduced initiatives to make sure their colleagues are involved. The Highly Commended team in this category has kept their eyes on the prize… This team is like no other the nominator has ever worked for, they are highly specialised and knowledgeable in their area, and it’s clear that every member is passionate. The training and support they have given has been first class.”

Highly Commended (individual) – Sally Twigg, Speech and Language Therapist

Nick Parker on Sally: “They have so much respect for others and considers them in everything they do. They are driven by a desire for fairness and equality at work, but somehow combine this with wanting to provide the very best evidence based care, and will take steps to highlight where there are gaps in what we are able to provide.”

Best Support Service Award

Winner (individual) – Ewen Laycock, Digital Communications Officer

Craig Radford, Acting Director of Operations, said: “The judging panel had an extremely difficult job in deciding between two particular nominations for the winner of this award, so they decided on two in this instance. These two people are from the same team, and they both had very strong nominations. The first person had multiple nominations for their work and was described as a ‘fantastic source of support’. Their range of skills and approach is terrific and they are a huge asset to the Trust. Their work to help create over 30 videos for teams was hugely appreciated.”

Winner (individual) – Rosie Sobieraj, Senior Communications Officer 

Craig continued: “The second winner has worked so hard across the first 12 months of the pandemic, showing vast levels of energy, commitment and skill. Almost no week has passed where they didn’t pick up work outside of their normal hours. In the first few months, they worked late into the evening every day to complete and share the daily updates on what was happening across the trust with our colleagues and other audiences, often clocking up to 20 extra hours a week – across early mornings, nights and weekends.”

Winner (team) – IT

Craig on the IT team: “The team winner of this Award were described as phenomenal and outstanding during the pandemic. Their role is truly essential to the organisation and if they weren’t around, everyone would be using paper and pens for their work. Their hard work and commitment has gone beyond the extra mile in supporting clinical staff to continue to deliver patient care and the team have always shown positivity and a keen desire to help others even when extremely stretched.”

Highly Commended Individual -Muhammad Khan, Admin Assistant for PGME

Craig Radford, Acting Director of Operations, said of Muhammad: “The Highly Commended person for this award is a relatively new member of their team, starting in 2020. Due to COVID restrictions they have mostly worked alone on site, providing invaluable support for the training of colleagues in skills that are essential for patient safety, and enabling face to face training, education and regional training days to continue where possible. All of this work has been hugely valued and appreciated.”

Highly Commended Team – Security, Portering and Enhanced Support Officers 

Craig Radford, Acting Director of Operations, said: “Well done to you all, your nomination said that you are a fantastic team “that shows commitment, professionalism and compassion towards every young person you come into contact with, often during some of their most anxious, challenging and vulnerable moments.”

Best Clinical Project Award

Winner (team) – Zolgensma Team

“The winning team of this award achieved something incredible for children with very serious disorders… Their work on the world’s most expensive drug received national attention from the country’s media, including BBC News, The Guardian, and was even covered by media internationally. This wonder drug now stands a fantastic chance of transforming the lives of lots of very sick children.”

Highly Commended Team – Making Sense Team

“The Highly Commended team in this category came together in December 2020 to establish and deliver a brand new service for Sheffield. They live and breathe the Trust values, teaming up, continually learning together and leading collectively, despite being spread across the city in different professional teams with infrequent face to face contact. They are working with such compassion for the children and families as they build the service. They are making sure there are helpful, accessible resources for all. You could say that it makes sense to have an excellent service that delivers outstanding patient care and leading services nationally for children.”

The Children's Hospital Charity Fundraising Award

Winner – Ward 6

The new Chief Executive of The Children’s Hospital Charity John Armstrong said:” Over the past year fundraising has been incredibly difficult at the charity and so we would love to give our Star Award this year to a very special team. This ward has raised money in as many ways as they possibly can for their new ward during the pandemic. They’ve organised Covid-safe raffles, taken on sponsored running challenges,  in our charity pajama day and lots more. In total this year they have raised over £6,000. Their new ward is almost finished and that’s in large part to the hard work, fundraising and dedication of the amazing team.”

Exceptional Contribution to our Covid-19 Response

Winner – COVID-19 Vaccination team!

Dr Jeff Perring said: “This award is to recognise a special team who made an exceptional contribution to our COVID-19 response over the past year. This team is an example of what happens when different services and skills team up to do something incredible. They helped us feel safe by getting the COVID vaccine out to thousands of colleagues and staff from partners like the police, ambulance and social care.”

The Children's Star Award

Winner (individual) – Dr Hemant Kulkarni, Consultant

Winner (team) – Ward 5

Highly Commended Team – Cystic Fibrosis Team

Ruth on the highly commended Cystic Fibrosis Team: “The first highly commended team for this award were described as going “above and beyond for your child.” They support children with a particular inherited condition from the day they are diagnosed and throughout their childhood. One parent said: ‘They have always been at the end of the phone whenever we have a concern and look after our child’s health and emotional needs so well. They come to the ward to see her all the time when she has been admitted in the past and they are just so fantastic with all the children with this condition. We live two hours away from the hospital but they have made countless visits to us at our home to see how our daughter is and they have made visits to her nursery and school to help them understand her needs and explain all about her care. I’m pretty sure our daughter would not be as healthy if it wasn’t for the team at looking after her. We cannot thank them enough.'”

Highly Commended Individual – Melanie Diver, Housekeeper

Ruth on Melanie: “The first Highly Commended individual for the Children’s Star Award was defined by their nominator as “the most caring person I’ve ever met. She is amazing at her job but also a great support to parents and nurses. She made me tea while my daughter was in theater and held my hand when her surgery went wrong. Being in lockdown was so isolating not being able to have my husband there. For an 8 month stay she went through all the ups and downs with me and my daughter and kept my child smiling, changed her bedding made tea and genuinely cared for us and many others. She’s a star in our eyes.”

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