THE NHS staff who ensured emergency surgery could still go ahead in Glasgow’s hospitals after a “catastrophic” unit closure have been given a special award of excellence.

Cowlairs Decontamination Unit, where surgical instruments for every hospital in the city are cleaned, was shut down in November last year after a “significant” issue with mould and bacteria was identified.

The two-week closure led to hundreds of planned ops being cancelled but emergency and cancer ops were still able to go ahead as staff were deployed to Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock to maintain services.

Many staff volunteered to work extra hours, through the night and weekend shifts to ensure there was no threat to surgery.

The team were presented with NHS Greater Glasgow Clyde’s first Award of Excellence in ten years last night at the annual Chairman’s Awards, which were held at the Radisson Blue hotel.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: “The loss of our ability to decontaminate sterile instruments last year was a catastrophic event. “There is no doubt that the volume of trauma and emergency activity that was safely maintained during this period could not have been delivered without the efforts of this team.”

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A second Award of Excellence was presented to the staff who care for “the country’s sickest babies, children and young people.”

The Haemato-Oncology Paediatric team, based at the Royal Hospital for Children, were hailed for their “kindness, patience, professionalism, empathy and resilience.”

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The health board said it had received a record number of entries for this year’s awards which celebrate care, innovation and volunteer work.

The nursing award was presented to Catherine MacRae, who has been working in the accident and emergency unit at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley for 23 years. She was described as an “outstanding nurse and role model.”

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Other winners included the theatre reception staff at the children’s hospital who were presented with the Better Care award, described as ‘caring, enthusiastic and highly professional.’

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Midwife Hilary Alba who specialises in the care of pregnant women seeking asylum was presented with the Better Health Award.

Transplant surgeon Marc Clancy was recognised in the Global Citizenship category for leading the team that performed the first renal transplant this century in Jamaica. A dedicated programme is now being set up in the country.

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The volunteer award was presented to Gullalaii Yousafzai.

John Brown, Chairmam of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “There were a record 394 entries in the Chairman’s Awards, a testament to the high regard that the communities we serve have for NHSGGC staff.

“Every one of the staff who received awards deserve to be congratulated for the care and services they provide every day to our local communities.”

Full list of winners

BETTER CARE

Winner: Theatres Reception Team, RHC

BETTER HEALTH

Winner: Hilary Alba

BETTER VALUE

JOINT WINNERS: Flash Teaching and Medicines Reconciliation/Immediate Discharge Letter Team

BETTER WORKPLACE

Winner: Benjamin Law

GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP

Winner: Marc Clancy

NURSING

Winner: Catherine MacRae

VOLUNTEER

Winner: Gullalaii Yousafzai

SPECIAL JUDGES AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Joint Winners: Central Decontamination Unit

Haemato-Oncology Paediatric Team

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