Speech and language therapist wins national award

Anita Smith has won a major award for her work. Photo John Behets SUS-170415-144132001
Anita Smith has won a major award for her work. Photo John Behets SUS-170415-144132001
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An East Sussex language therapist has won a major award for her work.

Anita Smith, consultant speech and language therapist at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, has been recognised for her work in the One Stop Swallow Disorder Clinic, which has reduced treatment time from 24 to 5 weeks and improved patient safety and satisfaction.

She is the winner of the Advancing Practice Award for Collaborative Work, part of the prestigious Advancing Healthcare awards programme.

Anita collected the award with follow Speech and Language Therapist Karen McInally.

The judges said: “The team saw the vision for the future and transformed the service so that instead of the patient needing to attend five appointments, they had simply to attend one clinic. Already this is being adopted elsewhere.”

Anita Smith said: “I am delighted our one stop swallow disorder clinic has been recognised with a national award for the improvements it has made to patient care, safety and experience.

“This shows how different professional groups working together can really make a difference. We have significantly reduced waiting times and the number of appointments that patients have traditionally attended to get answers to their difficulties.

“Our patients tell us they have benefited from the clinic and it gives us great satisfaction to provide an excellent service, a win-win all round.”

The Swallow Clinic says it offers a quality, holistic and patient-centred approach to swallowing disorders.

It provides a ‘one stop’ clinic which gives patients a timely, detailed assessment, good communication with immediate advice and therapy, and improved patient safety – potentially reducing unnecessary exposure to radiation.

Using a more holistic approach has dramatically reduced waiting times – the patient pathway has been reduced from 24 to just 5 weeks.

Karen Poole, interim allied health professional lead, said: “Congratulations to Anita and her colleagues in the One Stop Swallow Disorder Clinic for the award.

“It is recognition of the tremendous innovative work being undertaken here in East Sussex and the progress we are making as an organisation to develop services for local people.”

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust was the only Trust in the country to have been shortlisted for two of these Advancing Healthcare Awards.