Bassetlaw Bereavement Counsellors named Non-clinical Team of the Year

On Thursday 20 October, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) hosted its annual Star Awards evening to celebrate the hard work and commendable dedication of healthcare heroes throughout the past 12 months.

The ceremony took place at the Doncaster Dome, hosted by Heart Radio DJ, David ‘Dixie’ Dixon, and heard the inspiring stories of all ten winners, as well as nominees. The award categories presented on the night included Rising Star, Patient Champion and Behind the Scenes Champion.

The accolade of ‘Non-clinical Team of the Year’ is bestowed to a team within DBTH who do not directly provide patient care, but nonetheless provide an invaluable service. This year’s winners, celebrated for the high quality support that they provide, were the Bassetlaw Bereavement Counsellors – a small team of dedicated staff members who deliver a bereavement counselling service from Bassetlaw Hospital.

The amazing duo, made up of one counsellor and one administrative assistant, adapted to new challenges during the pandemic, switching from face-to-face to telephone appointments and supporting their large volunteer team remotely. Since then, the team has worked hard to provide a hybrid service and recruit new volunteers to grow their compassionate and understanding community, striving to help as many patients as possible going through the painful experience of grief.

At the heart of their service are people who genuinely care for their clients, providing crucial support for them during their worst times. The team has diligently trained their 30 strong volunteer group in bereavement counselling so that they may walk alongside their clients as they navigate their grief journey and adapt to a different life without their loved one.

Their counselling referrals come from a variety of sources across the Trust’s region, including GP referrals, self-referrals, Insight Healthcare, Bassetlaw Community and Voluntary Service and Social Prescribers. The team have a huge impact on people’s lives, shown through their consistent excellent feedback on providing a professional, caring and empathetic service and the recommended referrals from past clients.

Nominated by Reverend Simon Russel, Chaplin Team Manager, the award submission said: “For such a small team they provide a gold standard service to those experiencing grief. Always remaining flexible and motivated through these challenging times – I want to blow their trumpet and recognise the outstanding work that they do.”

To increase the effectiveness of the service they provide, the team has transitioned to paperless working and upgraded their counselling room to create a safe and trusted environment for clients to open up and receive support from their counsellor. Alongside this, they have continued to maintain and improve their baby special memories book to ensure parents and relatives can express their love in heart-breaking circumstances.

Speaking after the event, Andrea Kirkwood, Bereavement Counselling Co-ordinator, said: “To say we were shocked at this recognition is an understatement.  We work so hard and are so invested in our service that it was lovely to realise other people value what we do too.”

Richard Parker OBE, Chief Executive at the Trust, said: “I would like to thank the team and all their incredible volunteers for the outstanding service they provide at DBTH. This award duly recognises their dedication to providing support to clients when they need it the most, especially throughout the pandemic and beyond.”

“They are a credit to the Trust in what they do, helping us to deliver excellent services. This event was the perfect opportunity to celebrate all their hard work throughout the past year.”

The Star Awards is part of the Trust’s Staff Awards and Recognition Scheme, providing colleagues the opportunity to nominate their team members deserving of special recognition. The ceremony will return next year for another memorable evening celebrating healthcare heroes.