An annual memorial scholarship bursary in the name of Gilbert Halcrow has been set up from funds donated by the recently wound up charity Shetland Hospitals and Community Friends.
The first two awards were made on Friday to two Shetland NHS Board employees, senior staff nurse Clare McMillan and consultant anaesthetist Catriona Barr.
Former Shetland Hospitals and Community Friends vice chairwoman Violet Laurenson presented £900 to Ms McMillan, which will be used for her attending a three-day Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS) course in Scotland.
She said: “I am delighted to have received this award. I have always had a special interest in caring for children and to be given the opportunity to undertake the APLS course is very exciting for me.
“The APLS course is delivered by the Advanced Life Support Group whose aim is to train people from various backgrounds in the immediate care of the critically ill and injured, thereby ensuring casualties are offered the best chance of survival.
“This course will allow me to take back new skills to the workplace and also to assist with basic life support training and the provision of the Paediatric Life Support (PLS) course run by Dr Barr.”
Dr Barr was awarded £600, which will be used for costs resulting from the visit of the Mobile Skills Unit to Shetland.
She said: “This award is being used to facilitate the use of the NHS Education Scotland mobile skills unit during its three week visit to Shetland. We wanted to make sure we could publicise the visit, get staff, the public and partner organisations to visit and use it, and support trainers to teach clinical skills using its excellent facilities.
“The unit will visit again next year, and this visit gives everyone the opportunity to learn how it can best be used in the future. This is all about enhancing the quality of care to all our patients in Shetland.”
Board chairwoman Betty Fullerton thanked the Shetland Hospitals and Community Friends for the generous donation to fund the new Gilbert Halcrow staff development award, and said: “These awards are really important to us as they allow successful applicants, through training, to enhance patient care with their increased knowledge.”
Meanwhile a £2,451 staff development award was made by Mrs Fullerton to pharmaceutical supplies officer Brian Mathieson, in order for him to undertake a NVQ Level 3 in Pharmacy via distance learning.
Mr Mathieson said: “I would like to thank the board for giving me the opportunity to advance my career in pharmacy services. On completion of my course, I will be able to offer a more streamlined dispensing service for those visiting the pharmacy – both staff and patients.
“The pharmacists will therefore have more time to spend on in-patient care on the wards. Because I will also gain a working knowledge of pharmacy services, I will be able to provide the technical assistance which, due to changing legislation, will become essential in my role.
“I see this as an excellent opportunity, where my gain will benefit the Health Board and its patients.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Fullerton paid tribute to the work of the Shetland Hospitals and Community Friends, which was closed at the end of March. She spoke about the work of the group since its establishment back in July 1980 and acknowledged the “huge difference” it had made to people when they needed to access health services.
The work of Shetland Hospitals and Community Friends over the years included buying presents for any patients spending Christmas in hospital; providing new furniture for the baby feeding unit and the visitors quiet room; providing toiletries for patients admitted to hospital from the accident and emergency department; as well as purchasing televisions, pictures, toys and books to help make people’s visit to or stay in hospital more comfortable.
Board chief executive Sandra Laurenson joined Mrs Fullerton in thanking the group for all their hard work over the years and for establishing the new staff development award.
She said: “The Shetland Hospitals and Community Friends have worked tirelessly over the years for patients of the health service.
They have provided lots of extras, making people’s stay in hospital better. The newly established Gilbert Halcrow Memorial Award will be an ongoing legacy to acknowledge the work of the group.”