National award for involvement champion

A People Participation Co-ordinator (PPC) with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has received a prized national Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership award after significantly increasing the number of patients who are involved in improvement work.

Gemma Harris, PPC for Quality Improvement (QI), was announced as winner of the Patient and Public Involvement category of the Clinical Audit Heroes Awards during a ceremony last Tuesday (25 June).

Gemma was recognised for helping to increase the percentage of QI projects which people with lived experience have contributed to from 43% in June 2022 to 89% by February 2024. The judges also praised her work to advocate for people with lived experience and offer them opportunities to build their own transferable improvement skills.

She was presented with the award during Clinical Audit Awareness Week, which celebrates the role of clinical audit and quality improvement in improving healthcare services.

“I am truly humbled to be nominated and named as the winner of this award,” said Gemma, who is based at County Hall in Norwich. “The opportunity to showcase Quality Improvement and focus on co-production with experts by experience and staff at NSFT has been wonderful.

“I hope it inspires others to work collaboratively to continue to improve people’s experiences of and access to mental healthcare.”

NSFT Quality Improvement Advisor Helen Smith, who nominated Gemma for the award, said: “Gemma’s passion and commitment to championing participation of people with lived experience in projects is truly inspirational.”

Chief Nurse at NSFT Anthony Deery said, “I am proud that this award recognises the hard work and effort Gemma has put into service user involvement and quality improvement. As part of our Trust’s improvement journey, we are prioritising working with service users, families and carers to improve care. Co-production with those with lived experience of our services is essential to improve services and support us to provide safer, kinder and better care.”