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Safeguarding nurse at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust named Nurse of the Year!

Posted: 13 November 2019

Picture of Bonnie Sparkes

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT) is thrilled and proud to announce that safeguarding nurse Bonnie Sparkes was named Nurse of the Year at this yearís Nursing Times Awards.

Bonnie scooped this outstanding accolade for her work in partnership with Hertfordshire police to support potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery. Bonnie, who is a safeguarding clinical nurse specialist, protects vulnerable and hard to reach women by joining police on operations to reach those who need vital healthcare support.

Bonnie, who qualified as a nurse 20 years ago, said: "Thank you to everyone who has believed in and supported me through this amazing journey. I really canít believe Iíve won this award! I became a nurse because I wanted to help people and the work Iíve been leading with the support of the safeguarding team helps me to make a difference and deliver something really positive."

The collaboration between WHHTís nursing safeguarding team and the police, which began in 2018, is among the first of its kind. By working in partnership the safeguarding team has helped many women and potential victims of trafficking access the support they need.

Bonnie, and other members of the safeguarding team, meet women who may have been trafficked into the UK from Europe and who are working in the sex trade. Bonnie wears her nurseís uniform to offer a visible sign of reassurance to women that they are in a safe environment. She engages with them in a way which it is often difficult for the police to do and offers care, support and advice to this vulnerable group. If women choose not to accept support on the day they are given information on how to access healthcare when they are ready to.

Her vision is to roll out this partnership work nationally across the NHS to enable as many women as possible to benefit from safeguarding support and access to healthcare.

WHHT chief nurse Tracey Carter said: "We are enormously proud of Bonnie and the work she has delivered with the nursing safeguarding team. Her work has truly helped the most vulnerable women to gain access to healthcare. She is a worthy winner of this very prestigious award."

The nursing safeguarding team were also joint winners this summer in the NHS Parliamentary Awards in the Health Equalities category.

Ends

Notes to editors

  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: wherts-tr.communications@nhs.net. For out of hours media enquiries please call the Watford General Hospital switchboard on 01923 244366 and ask for the on call communications manager.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. You can also join our followers on Twitter (twitter.com/westhertsNHS) and find us on Facebook (facebook.com/westhertsNHS).