Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



Gala Awards Ceremony

Innovation in face of austerity was the keynote of this year’s HefmA Gala Awards Dinner at Torquay.  This year’s Innovation Award – innovatively voted upon by delegates at the dinner – not by the judging panel – was won by County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust for the Pyjown.




The Pyjown a play on the words pyjama and gown, is just that, a garment aimed at frail and elderly patients as well as those with stiff and painful joints. It makes dressing them much easier , preserves dignity, unlike most hospital gowns,  and provides easy access to the chest area for monitoring. It also  makes the likelihood of back injury much less likely for carers and nursing staff.


The event was something of a triple whammy for County Durham & Darlington. The trust took two other awards: Facilities Team of the Year and Alison McCree, Associate Director of Facilities was the Facilities Manager of the Year.



 [quote top= Commenting on the awards Alison said:] This is not just about me, the whole team has done a truly outstanding job over the past 10 years. This is no flash –in-pan, but excellent teamwork, which I have been truly proud to lead. [/quote]


The Training Initiative of the Year Award was won by the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.  The trust’s training programme had generated what the judges described as “exceptional personal commitment”. Initiatives had preserved patients’ dignity and focused staff training on things such as kindness and sensitivity. Moreover the team at Nottinghamshire had managed to get buy-in from across the whole organisation.


[quote bottom= said Susan Brown, Nottinghamshire’s hotel services manager.] It is fabulous to have been given this recognition. Training is at the heart of everything we do for the benefit of patients. [/quote]


The other winners were Natalie Firminger of Newham University Hospital NHS Trust, who won Project Manager of the Year and Lee Soden, who won the  Outstanding Service Award.


Natalie’s award was for the enthusiasm and leadership she brought to her trust’s particular building project. Innovation, the judges believed, had been encouraged through every step of the process. As a result, the patient surroundings had been enhanced and staff were also able to work more efficiently.


A clearly moved Lee Soden was both astonished and delighted by his award. Lee is currently Director of Facilities management at Canterbury Christ Church University, where he is responsible for £50m of capital investment. Lee spent many years in the NHS and  had organised HefmA’s first annual conference in Brighton. He was, said Tim Litherland, “an outstanding professional who had contributed significantly to the Estates and Facilities profession”.