Helen receiving her award

UHS nurse wins national award for service that keeps families together during treatment

We’re delighted to announce that Helen Green, a paediatric clinical nurse specialist in infectious diseases, has won the Towergate Care Award for her work on paediatric outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy (OPAT), a service she developed to enable young patients who need intravenous (IV) antibiotics to have this treatment at home.

The national award, which is given annually by Towergate Insurance to someone who shows exceptional hard work and dedication in a caring role, was presented to Helen on Monday, 12 September at Southampton Children’s Hospital. The winner was decided by the public, with Helen winning an amazing 45% of the votes.

“Historically, children with complex infections have been in hospital for days and weeks on end completing antibiotic courses,” explained Dr Sanjay Patel, who nominated Helen for the award. “What Helen’s done ... is give them the opportunity to have them at home.”

This has made a huge difference to patients and their families. Children have their antibiotics administered either by their parents, who are trained to do this by Helen and her team, or a community nurse, who can even visit them at school so their education is less disrupted. It’s a way for families to go back to their normal lives, and also means that there are more free beds on the wards, enabling the team to care for more children, reduce waiting times for treatment and bring costs down.

The OPAT service is available to families in Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire. Other hospital trusts around the country have been inspired by the service, setting up similar programmes. This, Helen said, is “the best recognition” for her work.

(Photo by Jon Craig for The Ardonagh Group)