Combined Healthcare wins two Keele University Health and Care Partnership Awards 2023

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust has been named as the winner of two Keele University Health and Care Partnership Awards 2023.

The Trust was awarded the ‘Exemplary Placement Provider’ and ‘Keele Alumni Achievement’ titles in the recent awards ceremony at Keele Hall. Run by the University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Keele University Health and Care Partnership Awards celebrate the institution’s work with health and care partners in the area and recognise excellence in collaboration and partnership.

For the ‘Exemplary Educator’ category, the Trust’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Dennis Okolo, Medical Education Manager Lisa Lummis and her team were recognised for their work in ensuring a smooth introduction process for the brand new Physician Associate Apprenticeship Programme that has been introduced by Keele University, together with outstanding placements and teaching for the undergraduate students.

Lisa said: “We are absolutely thrilled and deeply honoured to win the ‘Exemplary Educator’ award. The Medical Education Team is dedicated to enhancing the placement experience, elevating the quality of teaching, and providing innovative opportunities for students. This reflects the outstanding nature of Combined Healthcare.

“We are also really proud to be a part of the Physician Associate Apprenticeship Programme’s first ever cohort, and looking forward to the integration of this programme with Keele University and our Trust.  The invaluable support from the inspiring and enthusiastic individuals at Combined and Keele has been instrumental in making all of this possible.”

Keele University graduate, and Practice Education Facilitator and Learning Disability Nurse at Combined Healthcare, Lincoln Gombedza won the ‘Keele Alumni Achievement’ award for his career progress and achievements to date since graduation.

Lincoln commented: “I am so happy and profoundly grateful to be recognised as the winner in the ‘Keele Alumni Achievement’ category. This honour is a testament to the journey that began at Keele University and has since evolved into a career where I now have the privilege of supporting the next generation of healthcare professionals. My deepest thanks go to our Trust Executive team for nominating me, and to my manager, Hector Musonza, for his invaluable support since I began my nursing career.”

Combined Healthcare’s Staff Nurse Jackie Watts was also a finalist at the awards in the ‘Exemplary Placement Provider’ category for her work with, and support to, Keele University students on Ward 7, Harplands Hospital.

Dr Buki Adeyemo, Chief Executive, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It is truly fantastic to be recognised by Keele University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in this way and well done to Dr Okolo, Lisa, the Medical Education Team and Lincoln, and to Jackie for being a finalist also. Partnerships is one of the key pillars in Combined Healthcare’s Trust Strategy 2023 – 2028 and we have a long and positive working relationship with Keele University, as well as being a teaching Trust.”

Professor Pauline Walsh, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences at Keele, said: “Keele has a long and proud history of partnership working with the local NHS and care partners, delivering wide-ranging and world-leading research, education, and collaborative portfolio.

“The awards were held to recognise and celebrate excellence in collaboration and partnership, which was even more fitting in the year the NHS is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The calibre of nominations was very impressive and I would like to congratulate all of the winners on their achievement.”