Ipswich Hospital patient leader ‘over the moon’ at NHS East of England Leadership Recognition Awards success

Gill Orves, chairwoman of the Ipswich Hospital User Group (IHUG), won patient leader of the year. Pi

Gill Orves, chairwoman of the Ipswich Hospital User Group (IHUG), won patient leader of the year. Pictured, l-r, associate director of nursing Carole Broadbank, deputy chief executive Neill Maloney, Gill Orves, director of nursing Lisa Nobes, patient experience lead Sarah Higson. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk health service innovator who was named “patient leader of the year” at a regional awards ceremony said it was “one of the best nights of my life”.

Gill Orves, chairwoman of the Ipswich Hospital User Group (IHUG), was presented with the award at the NHS East of England Leadership Recognition Awards, in honour of her work leading improvements to ensure patients’ voices are heard.

“I was absolutely over the moon to have won,” she said.

“I was up against some really strong competition and so it came as a total shock.

“For me, one of the best bits came afterwards, with all of the support from other staff – I was overwhelmed.

“Winning the award means the world to me and I’m still on cloud nine.

“It was absolutely amazing – one of the best nights of my life.”

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Ms Orves, who says she is “proud and privileged” to be part of the hospital, was nominated by director of nursing, Lisa Nobes, in recognition of the passion she has shown for improving the experience of patients.

Since taking the role in April 2015, she had led a number of initiatives including the “You Make a Difference Award”, which allows patients to nominate hospital staff as a thanks for the care they receive.

Ms Orves also helped instigate the “Adopt a Ward” scheme, which sees members of the IHUG visit wards to hold informal chats with patients to find out more about their experiences.

She insists she is just “one small part” of the IHUG, which she describes as “an amazing group of people”.

Also shortlisted for an award at the event, held at Imperial War Museum, Duxford, last Thursday, was Ipswich Hospital’s Sarah Higson, who was a finalist in the “excellence in patient experience” category.