The BHF Alliance Awards 2017

We were very proud to honour those working to change the heart health of the nation during the BHF Alliance Awards at the British Cardiovascular Society conference 2017 in Manchester, back this June for its fourth year.

The awards were presented by our Chief Executive, Simon Gillespie, at a celebratory dinner, recognising the staff and organisations that have shown particular excellence in cardiovascular care over the past year.

2017 BHF Alliance Award Winners

Rising Star 

Viki Jenkins 
Heart Failure Nurse Specialist
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Wales

Viki was nominated for her dedication to the profession and her determination to develop a pioneering and innovative service which will help deliver a mobile heart scanning clinic in the community.

In November 2015 Viki was selected to expand the scope of her team of specialists to become accredited in echocardiography – the technique used to create images of the heart in order to help the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. 

Once accredited, Viki will further develop the service to expand the rapid assessment, diagnosis, treatment and health information for patients with suspected cardiac problems in a one-stop mobile community clinic.  

BHF Champion

Megan Lishman
Health and Fitness Manager
Greenwich Leisure Ltd, Cumbria

As well as her day to day role at Workington and Cockermouth Leisure Centres, Megan has introduced a GP referral scheme within both centres, establishing firm relationships with all local GPs and healthcare professionals whilst promoting healthcare improvements on social media. She has also set up an ‘over 55 club’ at both facilities where she organises relaxation and social gatherings for any person who has suffered a heart event or those who know someone that has been affected.

After completing a ten week voluntary course at the hospital Megan rushed to help a lady who collapsed in the gym, recognising her symptoms as a stroke and calling an ambulance. The lady returned again a week later and thanked her for helping to save her life.

Integrated Care 

Susanne Christie and Connie Dunbar
Arrhythmia and Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Specialists
NHS Tayside

Susanne and Connie support patients with a range of conditions including atrial fibrillation, inherited cardiac conditions and those who have an implantable device, such as an internal defibrillator. The specialist nurses have worked with primary, secondary and social care to drive change and further integration of services, drastically improving the whole patient journey.

Both women have extensive experience and qualifications in cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation which has allowed them to upskill healthcare teams; something that has been crucial to the success of the service.

Leadership and Engagement

Janet Reid and Jill Nicholls
Scottish Heart Failure Hub Co-ordinators
Scottish Government

Since 2015 Janet and Jill have overseen national activity to address many areas of improvement for patients living with heart failure. Thanks to their work there is now a pathway of care to facilitate teams across Scotland to develop their services. There is also a single resource for healthcare professionals to access educational heart failure opportunities across Scotland.

Additionally they have worked closely with the Scottish Government to encourage a national collaborative audit for heart failure. They have also lobbied the NHS in Orkney to address the lack of heart failure provision on the island, and even succeeded in securing a local post for a heart failure nurse. Janet and Jill also recognised the need for psychological treatment for heart failure patients and set up training for heart failure nurses to be better equipped with the variety of skills needed for this type of care. 

As well as taking on these roles, they also have day jobs in which Janet is the lead heart failure nurse for NHS Lothian, and Jill is a heart failure nurse in NHS Tayside.

Team of The Year

Cardiac Assessment Nurses
Royal Stoke University Hospital
Stoke-on-Trent

These ten senior cardiac nurses were recruited after undergoing several stages of specialist training to develop a broad knowledge of cardiology and a range of cardiac conditions. The nurses provide an innovative service in the Emergency Department and Acute Medical Receiving Unit at the hospital which has been successful in reducing unnecessary admissions and streamlined patient care. 

The team provides a cardiology opinion to 500 patients each month within 30 minutes of a referral, along with phone support to 200 ambulance crews and other staff and trusts. The nurses also help to ensure that patients who are discharged home undergo appropriate diagnostic tests.

2017 BHF Alliance Award Highly Commended

Leadership and Engagement

Rachel Owen
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Lead CV Nurse, Wales Cardiac Network
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

In her role Rachel has shown fantastic leadership by bringing together the national cardiac rehabilitation and heart failure teams to clearly define their work plans and targets for the future across Wales. She is the lead cardiovascular nurse on the Wales Cardiac Network, as well as offering a support network and advice to individual nurses. 

As well as this, she is instrumental as the lead of the National Audit for Cardiac Rehabilitation (NACR) All Wales Group, working tirelessly to ensure Wales is leading the way in cardiac rehabilitation. There has been an uptake of 59% thanks to Rachel’s commitment, determination and successful management of teams.

Integrated Care

Integrated Heart Failure Team
University Hospitals Southampton

Since 2008, the highly qualified team including consultant cardiologists and heart failure nurses have worked together to provide an integrated, individual service for heart failure patients across Southampton and West Hampshire. After just one year patients looked after by the team had demonstrated improved outcomes in terms of death rates and hospital readmissions.

The team also developed an advanced programme for severe heart failure patients and their carers which include chair-based exercise, education, support and advanced care planning. The consultants also created emergency clinics for complex patients who need rapid medical help. 

The nurses provide an innovative rotation system by working in the community and the hospital. This ensures all patients' individual needs are met with appropriate and efficient care. The team are constantly looking for new ways to improve their service and make sure heart failure nurses are supported on a local and national level.