The pandemic added to people's struggles with mental health and wellbeing, but in one Norfolk hospital a vital support service helped provide a lifeline to its own staff.

The clinical psychology team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn responded swiftly to the needs of staff during the pandemic by providing a dedicated in-house support service - making it one of the first teams in the country to do this.

The team - Tracey Jansen, Samantha Williams, Sandy Cumming, Kate Davies, Will Bratby, Alice Rose, and Jo Burrell - created a daily drop-in hub for staff after their own clinics were cancelled following the coronavirus outbreak.

Eastern Daily Press: Hospital chairman Prof Steve Barnett and chief executive Caroline Shaw at the QEH awards nightHospital chairman Prof Steve Barnett and chief executive Caroline Shaw at the QEH awards night (Image: QEH)

And after seeing the need to continue this work, the QEH now employs a dedicated specialist to provide "crucial in-house support on an ongoing basis".

A QEH spokesperson said: "This team very quickly recognised that our staff needed significant support during the pandemic.

"They created a daily drop-in hub, going above and beyond to support our colleagues through very challenging times.

"As a result of their work, we have recognised the enormous impact they had on so many of us."

Their efforts were recognised at the Team QEH 2021 Awards on Thursday, March 17, when the team received the Special Recognition Award for services for the wellbeing of staff.

The annual event, which celebrates the work of its staff and volunteers, also honoured many others across the hospital. Sixteen awards were presented in total.

The awards were due to be held in person but the hospital decided to hold the event virtually due to 'rising cases of Covid at QEH and King's Lynn and west Norfolk'.

Professor Steve Barnett, QEH chairman, said: “Our awards evening held an extra special meaning after the last few years - everyone at Team QEH has worked so hard, consistently going above and beyond in exceptionally challenging circumstances during the pandemic to provide the best possible care for our patients.

Eastern Daily Press: Professor Steve Barnett, Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chair. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYProfessor Steve Barnett, Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chair. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY (Image: Archant)

“We heard many moving stories which highlighted examples of outstanding patient care, inspirational support and leadership, excellent teamwork and how living our values of kindness, wellness and fairness has made a significant difference to the lives of our patients and their families - and so much more.”

The full list of Team QEH 2021 Award winners are as follows:

  • Patient Safety Champion - Helen Parriss, specialist physiotherapist for women’s health.

Eastern Daily Press: Helen Parriss.Helen Parriss. (Image: QEH)

  • Clinical Team of the Year - Research and development team.

Eastern Daily Press: The research and development team at QEH.The research and development team at QEH. (Image: QEH)

  • Non-Clinical Team of the Year - Domestic services team.

Eastern Daily Press: The domestic services team at QEH.The domestic services team at QEH. (Image: QEH)

  • Growing our Own - Emma Staples, senior operating department practitioner.

Eastern Daily Press: Emma Staples.Emma Staples. (Image: QEH)

  • Leader of the Year - Kit King, team leader on the neonatal unit.

Eastern Daily Press: Kit King at QEH.Kit King at QEH. (Image: QEH)

  • Behind the Scenes - Louise Wright, service manager in women and children’s division.

Eastern Daily Press: Louise Wright at QEH.Louise Wright at QEH. (Image: QEH)

  • Inclusion Champion - Sam Jude, ward manager on Feltwell Ward.

Eastern Daily Press: Samuel Jude, at the QEH.Samuel Jude, at the QEH. (Image: QEH)

  • Outstanding Achievement in Education or Research - Salman Kidwai, obstetrics consultant.

Eastern Daily Press: Salman Kidwai.Salman Kidwai. (Image: QEH)

  • Allied Health Professional of the Year - Joules Lodge, specialist cardio-respiratory physiotherapist.

Eastern Daily Press: Joules LodgeJoules Lodge (Image: QEH)

  • We Listen - Amanda-Jane Weir, head of staff engagement and wellbeing.

Eastern Daily Press: Amanda-Jane WeirAmanda-Jane Weir (Image: QEH)

  • We Act - Jane Wolfe, Uro-Gynae specialist nurse on Brancaster Ward.

Eastern Daily Press: Jane Wolfe.Jane Wolfe. (Image: QEH)

  • We Care - Salman Kidwai, obstetrics consultant.
  • Living Our Values Outstanding Contribution - Trudy Taylor, head of information and business support.

Eastern Daily Press: Trudy TaylorTrudy Taylor (Image: QEH)

  • Chairman’s Award for Developing Against the Odds - Roger Fisher, clinical site manager.

Eastern Daily Press: Roger FisherRoger Fisher (Image: QEH)

  • Volunteer of the Year Award - John Voaden.
  • Special Recognition for Services for the Wellbeing of Staff - Clinical psychology team.

The QEH plans to hold its 2022 awards at the end of the year.

For more information about it and to nominate someone visit