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South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s (SSSFT) is celebrating success at the recent Patient Experience Network’s national awards.

The Trust was named runner up in the Championing the Public category and was also recognised as a finalist in the Turning it Around category. Diane Taylor, Service Improvement Peer Worker, won the Simply the Best award in the Best in Class category for her presentation at the awards.

The Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA) celebrate the delivery of outstanding patient experience by those involved in the health and social care industry. Shortlisted entrants are invited to take part in an exhibition at the awards event, showcasing their achievement and offering an excellent opportunity for networking and sharing good practice.

Diane, who lives in Cannock, and the SSSFT team were recognised for their work to ensure the service user’s voice is heard at all times and for breaking down barriers to effective involvement. Key to this has been the creation of a Service Improvement Peer Worker post. Candidates required lived experience of mental health services and Diane Taylor was appointed. She has developed a training programme for service users and carers which helps them to see how they can get involved and offers support and encouragement to those wishing to do so. More than 50 people have completed the training so far. A further role has also been developed to encourage and support those using the Trust’s medium and low secure forensic services to get involved.

Fiona Moore, Head of Involvement and Experience says “It is really important to us that the people who use our services have the opportunity to get involved in shaping those services and influencing the Trust’s work. We recognised that service users in acute mental health services in particular were experiencing a number of barriers to getting involved and wanted to change this. Having someone with experience of services creating and leading on training has made a real difference and we have already seen more people getting involved and having the opportunity to make a positive contribution to improving services. It is fantastic to have our work recognised by the Patient Experience Network and we are delighted by Diane’s success and that we have been named runner up in the Championing the Public category.”