From breaking medical boundaries to the unsung heroes behind the scenes – Southern DHB celebrated some of its remarkable staff from across the district at the Southern Excellence Awards last night.

Held simultaneously in the Otago Polytechnic Hub in Dunedin and Bill Richardson Transport Museum in Southland, the Awards evening was established to recognise the diverse ways in which excellence is reflected across Southern DHB.

“With over 4000 staff, we know there’s incredible innovations and achievements, acts of kindness and staff constantly going above and beyond the call of duty,” says Southern DHB Chief Executive, Chris Fleming.

“The Awards are about acknowledging staff and the very important roles they play in providing care and support across the southern health system.”

Nine categories have been established to represent the diversity in healthcare delivery and services including the Unsung Hero (Behind the Scenes) Award, which recognised Southland Hospital Mortuary Technician, Bill Little, for his dedication to the role.

“Bill has been in this position for over twenty years and despite the challenges it inevitably brings, he acts with compassion, kindness and respect,” says Mr Fleming. “He continually goes beyond the call of duty and it’s this dedication that makes such a significant difference to families and communities impacted by loss.”

Bill Little Unsung Hero

Unsung hero Bill Little with Deputy Commissioner Richard Thomson 

The other Awards included the Outstanding Leadership Award, Team of the Year Award, Improvement of the Year Award, Breaking Boundaries Award, Rising Star Award, Care and Compassion Award, Health, Safety and Welfare Award and the Māori Health Development Award.

Southern DHB will host the Southern Excellence Awards annually to “continue recognising our staff’s accomplishments”, says Mr. Fleming.

“From the small wins to the big triumphs - it’s important to celebrate them all.”

The winners of each category will receive a professional development grant.

Southern Excellence Award Winners

Improvement of the Year Award: Bowel Screening Programme

Southern residents have been among the first in the country to benefit from a new, free, bowel cancer screening programme launched in April this year. The programme will help reduce deaths and promote long term health by either finding and removing pre-cancerous polyps, or finding bowel cancer at an early stage when it can often be successfully treated.

Breaking Boundaries Award: Jillian Boniface and Leanne Liggett (Refugee Immunisation Calculator)

Primary Care Focus Groups undertaken as part of the Refugee Strategy Evaluation identified the increasing demand for support for immunisation catch ups for Resettlement Cohorts arriving in New Zealand.  Southern DHB Programme Leader for Vaccine Preventable Disease Jillian Boniface and Public Health Analyst Dr Leanne Liggett are working in partnership with WellSouth to develop an online calculator which will simplify data collection, improve workflow efficiencies, support timely clinical delivery and ensure the National Immunisation Register is updated.

Team of the Year Award: Lakes District Hospital Nurses

Lakes District Hospital Nurses play a pivotal role in providing high quality in-patient and emergency care in Queenstown. They provide a much-needed service to their community and do so with kindness and compassion.

Outstanding Leadership Award: Dr Jenny Dodds, Quality and Performance Improvement Facilitator

Dr Jenny Dodds is an everyday leader whose greatest strength is her ability to inspire others. Jenny consistently provides support, advice and encouragement to many Resident Medical Officers to take on leadership roles and develop their leadership skills.

Rising Star Award: Emma Bell, Bowel Screening Programme Manager

Emma has played a pivotal role in the implementation of the bowel cancer screening programme. She demonstrates an exceptional level of skill, initiative and commitment to her role, and in a short amount of time – has contributed significantly to the organisation.

Unsung Hero Award: Bill Little, Mortuary Technician

Bill has been a mortuary technician for over 20 years. He demonstrates unwavering dedication, care and compassion in his role, which makes an incredible difference to the families and communities impacted by loss.  

Care and Compassion Award: Dr Olukayode Fayomi 

Dr Olukayode Fayomi is an exceptional psychiatrist who practices from the heart. He will always go the extra mile and any patient in his care knows they’re in safe and capable hands, which not only has a positive impact on their lives, but their whānau and community.

Health, Safety and Welfare Award: Bronwyn Gibbon (Sanderson), Sterile Services Technician

Bronwyn is a highly-trained and conscientious Sterile Services Technician who has spent 20 years out of her 30 years’ service promoting health and safety at Southern DHB. She is highly regarded by her manager and colleagues for her health and safety excellence.

Māori Health Development Award: Wendi Raumati

Wendi Raumati of Kai Tahu decent, is a respected elder who has provided for her hapu, iwi, manaakitanga and awhi for many years. She has encouraged and implemented watea and poutama processes to ensure Māori meet the expectations of the health service i.e. attending appointments on time, travel to and from appointments, accommodation requirements and conflict resolution.