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Climbing the leadership ladder


Meet the GP Awards shortlist: Sarah Britton

Meet the GP Awards shortlist: Sarah Britton
Sarah Britton (centre) with colleagues Allison Clarke (left) and Jill Duffus (right)

We have caught up with the Practice Nursing Award shortlist ahead of this year’s General Practice Awards, run by our publisher Cogora, which will be held on 9 December at a glitzy ceremony at Novotel London West.

The fifth and last under the spotlight from this year’s is Sarah Britton, lead nurse at Burnham Health Centre, Burnham, Berkshire.

Sarah was nominated by her team for driving standards in infection control at the surgery and her tireless work and support throughout the pandemic.

She set up and led a Covid-19 vaccination centre in the surgery, supplying vaccinations for a population of more than 40,000 people in her free time while continuing to lead the practice nurse team. She has also completed her nurse prescribing training, becoming a nurse practitioner, and has become the practice’s QOF manager.

Entry highlights

Sarah played a major role in evolving the nursing team through the Covid pandemic. She changed the appointment system, bringing down the number of face-to-face appointments required by patients in the early days but also set up alternative pathways so patient care was not compromised. This included working with the GPs to switch patients’ medication when appropriate, including parental B12 to oral delivery, warfarinised patients to DOACs, and GnRH analogue medication such as Zoladex to longer action versions such as annual injections.

She also set up a process of nurse telephone triage, ensuring prompt telephone consultations for all patients and face-to-face appointments to follow up if required. As the pandemic evolved, she transitioned her team back to face-to-face appointments, ensuring optimum nursing care and best practice.

She also set up a Covid vaccination clinic at Burnham Health Centre, which initially covered the 33,000 patients of three surgeries. This later expanded to over 40,000 patients when two other surgeries joined the programme thanks to its success. By the time the vaccination programme was winding down 14 months later, Burnham Health Centre had delivered nearly 60,000 Covid vaccinations.

To ensure the success of the programme, she:

  • Secured the required infrastructure such as fridges and freezers, computers, signage, and seating
  • Set up a team of 250 volunteers and a team of vaccinators
  • Set up the systems to contact patients
  • Developed the protocols around vaccine safety
  • Ensured the provision of food and drinks for the team
  • Coordinated vaccination preparation and dilution as well as home and care home visits
  • Oversaw vaccine stocktake and ordering
  • Managed complaints and clinical governance

Those who worked with her at the centre said the programme could never have gone ahead without her leadership, support and drive. She provided much of the service in her free time to ensure normal patient services were not compromised and colleagues said she is a talented nurse who has made an enormous difference to the patients of Burnham and South Bucks.

What she said

‘It was huge surprise and a privilege to be nominated for the Practice Nursing Award in The General Practice Awards. The nomination represents and honours the teamwork of the health centre staff, clinicians and volunteers during the vaccination effort in the fight against Covid-19. This is an amazing team that I am so very proud to have worked with.’

The first Practice Nursing Award entry we met was St Stephen’s Gate Medical Practice Nursing Team.

You can also read the second entry from the shortlist, nurse practitioner Antonia Alcaraz.

The third entry from the shortlist, practice nurse Janette Morgan, can be read here.

And the fourth entry from the shortlist, the nursing team at Tenbury Surgery, can be found here. 

See here for more information about this year’s General Practice Awards and the gala dinner and ceremony, which will be at the Novotel London West on Friday 9 December.

Last year, Maggi Bradley, a practice nurse from Lancashire, received the Practice Nursing Award in part for setting up video group clinics (VCGs) after noticing patients ‘were beginning to manifest feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety’ during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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