North-east’s “Powerhouse physiotherapist” in the corner of people with Parkinson’s

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Scottish health professionals including associate dean at Robert Gordon University Dr Julie Jones have been recognised for the efforts at the Parkinson’s Excellence Network Awards.

Award winner Julie Jones
Award winner Julie Jones

Members of the nursing, pharmacy and digital service teams at NHS Ayrshire and Arran were twice recognised for a system they devised to ensure the timely administration of Parkinson’s medication in hospital.

Parkinson’s nurses Nick Bryden and Robert Gouck, who are based at Biggart Hospital in Prestwick, were on hand to collect the prize for Innovation in Practice and also the prestigious Excellence Award.

Members of the Parkinson’s community selected the winner of the People’s Choice award, which went to Dr Julie Jones, physiotherapist and associate dean at Robert Gordon University.

Julie was also part of the winning team for the Community Support award, presented to the Exercise Hub, which is a national education and peer support network for professionals, enhancing the community exercise experience for people with Parkinson’s.

Hosted yesterday evening at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the biannual Parkinson’s Excellence Network Awards celebrate outstanding health and social care services for people with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s UK established the Parkinson’s Excellence Network to bring together health and social care professionals to transform care for people with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s UK president, Jane Asher, hosted the ceremony, along with journalists Mark Mardell and Rory Cellan-Jones, both of whom live with Parkinson’s and present the podcast, ‘Movers and Shakers’.

Award winner Julie Jones is passionate about improving services for people with Parkinson’s.

Recently promoted to Associate Dean for Economic and Community Engagement at Robert Gordon University, she is also involved with the North of Scotland Parkinson’s Research Interest Group and is co-lead of the Exercise Hub.

Julie also co-hosts the popular North of Scotland Parkinson’s Research Interest Group podcast, which launched earlier this year with the aim of increasing involvement in research and highlighting the breadth of Parkinson’s research taking place across Scotland.

Dr Rowan Wathes from Parkinson’s UK described Julie as a “powerhouse” while announcing her as winner of the ‘People’s Choice’ award at the Parkinson’s Excellence Network Awards.

“She is on a constant quest to improve care and support for people with Parkinson’s. Not just those directly under her care, but for others across the UK.

“What makes her stand out is that, at her core, she genuinely cares for people with Parkinson’s. She is in their corner,” said Dr Wathes.

James Jopling, Scotland Director for Parkinson’s UK, who attended the awards ceremony in Birmingham, said the impressive examples of innovation and collaboration from the nominees gave him confidence improvements in service will continue to come for people with Parkinson’s.

“Congratulations to all the individuals and teams nominated for awards and, in particular, to the winners based here in Scotland.

“It was really brilliant to see so many strong nominations from right across the UK.

“I am sure, knowing the dedication of our own team at Parkinson’s UK and having seen so many examples of fine work from our NHS colleagues, improvements will continue to happen for people with Parkinson’s.”

23 entries were submitted for the Parkinson’s Excellence Network Awards back in the summer, before being reduced, through a rigorous process, to a shortlist of 12.

Judges, who included a panel of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals and people living with the condition, praised the award entrants for their overwhelming dedication to improving the experience of people with Parkinson’s.

“We were blown away by the quality of the entries this year,” said Dr Rowan Wathes, Associate Director of Policy and Health Strategy at Parkinson’s UK.

“Each time we run these awards the range and quality of applications steps up another level. It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate so many fantastic health and care services, and the staff involved in them, at a time when the NHS and wider services are under so much pressure.”

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