HEALTH chiefs have landed a national award for their work in supporting stroke patients and their carers.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been presented with a Patient Experience Network award for its stroke volunteer support programme.
So far, 23 trained volunteers have made more than 400 support visits to newly-diagnosed patients and their families.
The trust’s volunteers have all either suffered a stroke themselves or care for someone who has.
They are there to offer support to patients wanting to talk to somebody with experience of what they are going through.
The award judges described the project as a fantastic initiative.
Becki Sowerby, of Blyth, was just 29 when she had a stroke.
Now, 14 years on, she is helping people going through what she went through then by acting as a stroke support worker.
She said: “This really is a great project, and everybody involved in it deserves this recognition.
“My role involves speaking to people on the wards who, like me, have had a stroke and want to talk to someone who understands what they’re going through.
“It really does make a difference to patients.
“I felt that my stroke would have been a complete waste of time if I couldn’t give something back.”
The PEN awards are for healthcare organisations working to improve their patient care.
The trust, which manages hospitals across Northumberland and North Tyneside, was also shortlisted for the work it does to measure and act on patient feedback and won a third-place prize for its work on personalising care for patients with diabetes.
Annie Laverty, the trust’s director of patient experience, said: “We’re really proud that we’ve been nationally recognised for all the work we have been doing to make sure our patients get exceptional care when they’re with us.”