RJAH Technical Instructor awarded for ‘Care and Innovation’ at glittering awards ceremony

Release Date: 23/06/2017

RJAH Technical Instructor awarded for ‘Care and Innovation’ at glittering awards ceremony

It isn’t just the frontline staff who receive recognition for the care they provide patients at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH), as the hospital’s Technical Instructor knows.

Derek Williams is celebrating after recently winning the prestigious Care and Innovation Award at the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) Rebuilding Lives Awards at a glittering awards ceremony at the Williams F1 Conference Centre in Oxfordshire.

Derek, who has worked at the hospital for 42 years based in the workshop, helps rehabilitate spinal and stroke patients, as well as those who have suffered hand injuries, through teaching and motivating them to try practical activities by creating items in the workshop.

Typically Derek starts patients off by making their own sliding board to help transfer them from their wheelchair to a car or chair. However over the years Derek has helped patients to create a wide variety of bespoke items, including dressing sticks, button hooks, book and cup holders, feeding straps and even items for the garden.

Speaking about winning the award, Derek said: “I was gobsmacked at just being nominated but to actually win the award was absolutely fantastic, it’s a real honour. When my name was read out I couldn’t believe it, I was up against some very strong candidates, so it came as a really lovely surprise.”

Originally a Fitter and Turner in Mechanical Engineering by trade, Derek said the work he assists patients with, helps them to rehabilitate by increasing their balance, co-ordination and muscle strength but also just as importantly, their psychological resilience and wellbeing. His work also forms part of the Oswestry Pain Management Programme.

He said: “The physical benefits for patients who come along to the workshop are of course crucial but it’s also what it does for them psychologically. It gives them a chance to come out of their ward and come out of that clinical environment and get them back into some sort of normality.

“I think the workshop is a place where patients can feel relaxed and at ease, it’s some escapism really from the hospital setting which they might not be used to.

“I feel incredibly thankful to have done a job I’ve loved for the many years that I have. Seeing patients grow in confidence and their satisfaction at creating something themselves and eventually taking it home to remember RJAH by is a wonderful feeling, my job is an incredibly rewarding one.”

Alison Mannion, Therapy Team Lead ­ ­- Spinal Injuries, added: “It’s fantastic news that Derek has won the ‘Innovation and Care SIA Award’ and I am so pleased for him. He has worked for the Trust for many years and truly deserves this award.

“He is brilliant with our patients and is valued by all who attend. I think we underestimate how much psychological support for our patients he provides as well as increasing their functional ability. Well done Derek!”


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