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Trust celebrates HSJ Awards shortlist double

08 Aug 22

A pioneering psychiatrist and a ground-breaking project to help transform the health care of people with learning disabilities have both been shortlisted for the prestigious Health Service Journal Awards.

Dr Indermeet Sawhney, who is Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director of Learning Disability Services for Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT), has been nominated for Clinical Leader of the Year for her work as an inspiring and active doctor who drives positive change for people with learning disabilities.

Dr Sawhney is a leading advocate for people with learning disabilities, ensuring their voices are heard among decision makers at a national level and tackling the profound health inequalities faced by this vulnerable group.

As part of her work, she has introduced reasonable adjustments at Mental Health Tribunal hearings for people with learning disabilities, with the aim to ensure such hearings are easier to follow and to enable equal access to justice.

Dr Sawhney devised easy read guidance for face-to-face and virtual tribunal hearings which were co-produced with experts by experience and it has now been adopted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) and HM Courts and Tribunals Service. The guidance has been published nationally.  

In July, the Trust’s work to introduce ‘reasonable adjustments’ at Mental Health Tribunal hearings was also shortlisted for the HSJ Patient Safety Award’s Learning Disabilities Initiative of the Year category with Dr Sawhney leading a team making a presentation to the judges. The winner of the award will be announced at the awards ceremony in Manchester in September.

Dr Sawhney has also led on the development of a neurodevelopmental disorder pathway, transition and end-of-life care services. To improve physical health outcomes for people with learning disabilities, she implemented the use of blue boxes which, using modern technology, remotely monitor the physical health of service users.  She has been active in research and had several publications on a number of clinical topics.

The Trust’s work in introducing enhanced physical health checks for people with learning disabilities is also a contender in the Innovation and Improvement in Reducing Healthcare Inequalities category in this year’s HSJ Awards. People with learning disabilities are at a higher risk of preventable death and, on average, die at an earlier age.  

These clinics ensure health issues are identified sooner, with individual service users receiving targeted and proactive treatment and support from a dedicated team. Increased take-up of health monitoring, health action plans and monitoring toolkits identifying health needs, this has led to improved physical health outcomes, helped reduce health inequalities and increased service user satisfaction.

In reaching the shortlisting stage, both entries faced tough competition with more than 1,000 submissions across 25 categories.

Dr Sawhney said: “I am both delighted and flattered to have been shortlisted for the Clinical Leader of the Year award but our main priority, focus and motivation must be ensuring that people with learning disabilities get equal treatment, both in terms of the law and in improved health care outcomes.”

Professor Asif Zia, Trust Executive Director of Quality and Medical Leadership, said: “To get to the shortlisting stage is a fantastic achievement and recognition of the work and dedication that Indermeet and the wider Trust team have shown in supporting our service users and carers.

“Indermeet is an excellent clinician who always thinks of service users first while the work we have done to introduce enhanced physical health checks for people with learning disabilities is a positive, much-needed initiative which has made a real difference to our service users.”

More information on the HSJ Awards website.


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