Skip to main content

Our NHS Wales Awards Finalists 2023

We are delighted that so many of our teams in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board have been shortlisted at this year's NHS Wales Awards in recognition of their amazing work across the Gwent area. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on 26th October 2023 - good luck to all!

Find out more about the fantastic work of our finalists below:



Co-production to support neuro-developmental services in Gwent

With neurodevelopmental services for under 18-year-olds in Gwent having seen a substantial increase in referrals in recent years, a new way of working - involving a co-production group of parents working collaboratively with professionals - was introduced by the service.

The vision was that by involving parents in the decision-making process and incorporating their insights and experiences, the neurodevelopmental services could better align with the needs of the children and young people in the community.

Since its inception, the co-production group - named Nurturing Change in Neuro-Developmental Service in Gwent – has made significant progress in improving patients’ experience. By listening and incorporating the ideas of parents who have first-hand experience and a profound understanding of the challenges faced by their child/young person, the group has successfully implemented several initiatives to address common challenges faced by families using neurodevelopmental services.

As this collaboration continues, it is expected that the services will better meet the diverse needs of the community's children and young people to create further improve the neurodevelopmental support system in Gwent.

Dr Kavitha Pasunuru, Assistant Divisional Director of Family and Therapies at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said:

"Being shortlisted for the NHS Wales award is a great achievement. The recognition received for our hard work makes us feel humbled and privileged. We feel very passionate about the positivity that has come from engaging with our parents and wanted to showcase this as an area of improvement that has really been beneficial in supporting our current Neurodevelopment recovery plan.”

A parent, who is a member of the Co-production group, said “Achieving national recognition for co-producing a service, which is so important to us as a neurodiverse family, is a fantastic feeling.”

Another parent from the Co-production group said: “Being shortlisted for this award is a fantastic achievement and really recognises the hard work we have all put into this. As parents we only want the best for our children. And to have this platform to work alongside the Health Board to improve services is vital.”

The ABUHB Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Team and Niwrostiwt Neurological Conditions Recovery College

The Community Brain Injury Team have developed a Neurological Conditions Recovery College that has been named "Y Niwrostiwt/ The Neurostute". All aspects of the college have been co-developed and are co-delivered by experts by experience and experts by training where possible.  The development and delivery of college activities has also involved working closely with colleagues from the National Exercise Referral Scheme, Headway, the Stroke Association, and services supporting vocational rehabilitation. 

The Recovery College was created to fill the gap between current health and third sector provision. Its novel approach replaces the current focus on therapy for sick people, with a focus on learning to live well.  In practical terms, the development of the recovery college led to a shift towards working with individuals to offer a range of co-produced groups and workshops. 

Michelle Brown, Occupational Therapist for the Community Neurological Rehabilitation Service at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said:

“Our team has been working with brain injury survivors living in the Aneurin Bevan community since 2016. During this time, we have witnessed firsthand the devastating, complex and long-term challenges that conditions such as stroke, brain tumours and traumatic brain injuries can cause. We set out to co-produce our services and interventions alongside people living with brain injuries. Our work is also underpinned by the Care Aims Intended Outcomes Framework.  It has been rewarding to see how these ways of working can catalyse the ability of individuals and communities to create their own solutions."

Linda Tremain, Specialist Neuro Physiotherapist for the Community Neurological Rehabilitation Service at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said:

“Our emphasis on co-production and collaboration not only helps people to find meaning and purpose following their brain injury, but creates a community of mutual support, where all participants are viewed as assets rather than as passive patients. Working in this way turns demand into resource and dependency to self-sufficiency. We’re delighted to have been shortlisted for this award.”




Collaborative Cookery Groups - Working to improve community mental health service users’ life skills, health and wellbeing

The Collaborative Cooking Group is a joint initiative between the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board North Monmouthshire Community Mental Health team and Coleg Gwent. The aim is to increase nutritional awareness and cooking skills to improve health and wellbeing for service users. It enables service users who are inexperienced or have challenges in cooking to learn new or develop skills, in a safe environment, alongside others with similar experiences.

The group has been running for 4 years now and has seen positive results for a high number of service users. It has consistently received fantastic feedback from service users and staff alike, and the group were also proud winners of Learning Group of the Year at the ‘Inspire’ Adult Learners Awards.

Richard Wheeler, Occupational Therapy Technical Instructor for the Community Mental Health Team at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said:

“It’s not about winning an award for me, although it is nice to be nominated. For me, it’s about doing the group and seeing the improvement service users have made, and the enjoyment they get out of it. It feels like we are making a difference in their lives.”



The Health Disability Activity Partnership (listed as Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board)

The Health Disability Activity Partnership aims to increase the number of physically active disabled people across Wales to improve their physical and mental health.

After the success of the pilot programme, held in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, the partnership now involves all seven Welsh Health Boards and signposts disabled people towards sports and physical activity opportunities with the help of local authority sports development teams. It also aims to improve well-being by decreasing the requirement for medical interventions.

Samantha Edwards, Health Disability Activity Practitioner for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, has helped roll-out the initiative across the Gwent area.

Samantha said: “The project was launched because it was discovered that people with disabilities were not accessing services in the community as well as others.

“The pilot was highly successful and there was a huge increase in the numbers of disabled people who became physically active as a result of the pathway. Some participants even went onto become elite athletes.

“The pathway is now Wales-wide, so you will find a Health Disability Activity Practitioner in each Health Board. The pathway has proven that the signposted patient needed less health appointments, due to increasing their levels of physical activity. Participants have improved both their Health and Wellbeing, Social and Communication skills and their mental health. What’s not to love?!!!”

“To be shortlisted for the NHS Wales Awards is a dream come true.”




ABUHB High Impact Service - Multi agency working to support patients that frequently present to services

The High Impact Service supports patients that frequently present to urgent and emergency care settings to reduce their hospital attendances by ensuring they receive the most appropriate care for them at the right time.

The service works alongside a wide range of agencies and services to create a multi-disciplinary team approach that supports these patients, who often have complex needs. This strong network of multi-agency support allows the team to identify gaps in service provision and pathways, and to address these issues promptly, as well as helping to reduce health inequalities.

The High Impact Service also supports patients’ discharge planning in order to prevent them from being readmitted to the Emergency Department.

Victoria Goodwin, Lead Nurse for the High Impact Service at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, said:

“Being shortlisted is a huge achievement and very exciting. Setting up the service has been hard work and challenging at times, but the positive outcomes we have seen for patients and the passion and care shown by the partnerships working across all sectors for complex groups has made it worthwhile.”





Improving our Employee Investigations

Whilst employee investigations are sometimes necessary and important for addressing work place issues, a joint programme between our Human Resources (HR) and employee wellbeing teams acknowledged the potential harm that they can cause to those being taken through the process, as well as those involved in delivering them.

The ‘Improving our employee investigations’ programme has encouraged staff who are responsible for commissioning and leading investigations to take a ‘last resort’ approach to launching them and to pursue informal options to address issues wherever possible. It has also emphasised the need for managers to collect as much information about the specific circumstances as possible, before they make the decision about whether to proceed with a formal process.

This focus is supporting a person-centred approach to investigations with a commitment to learning and continuous improvement, rather than using the disciplinary process inappropriately.

A key part of the programme has been the training, which has been attended by over 120 managers and senior leaders from across the organisation.

Mandy Hale, Divisional Nurse, said:

“As a result of the training and new approaches we have taken, there has been less time spent on investigations, more timely resolution and less stress for staff, as well as a reduction in sickness and absence.”

Since it was launched in July 2022, the programme has seen a 67% reduction in the number of investigations commissioned across the health board.

“We fully support this work developed by our HR and employee well-being teams, alongside ourselves,” said George Puckett, ABUHB Trade Union Chair and Unite representative. “The ‘last resort’ focus will reduce pressures and strains on individual members of staff as well as their teams – looking after their wellbeing and enabling them to continue providing the best care for our patients and citizens.”