North Derbyshire hospice wins national nursing award for Covid response

A north Derbyshire hospice charity has received a national nursing award for its work during the pandemic, which ensured those who depended on its services were not cut off from friends and family.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 11:56 am
Updated Thursday, 21st October 2021, 11:56 am

Staff at the Ashgate Hospice inpatient unit received the outstanding contribution to infection prevention and control award from the Royal College of Nursing Institute.

Ward manager Karen Walker said: “It is a privilege to be part of this incredible team who have consistently gone above and beyond to ensure patients and their families receive the very best care.

“When COVID-19 first hit we were quick to respond to the changing demands and procedures, despite our own anxieties and fears around the virus.”

Members of the inpatient unit team at Ashgate Hospice.

She added: “I feel honoured that my team have been acknowledged and it’s amazing that we have been given this award.”

Ashgate is one of the few hospices in the UK which cared for end-of-life patients with COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

Earlier this year, demand for its support and services was so great that the hospice opened a second Covid wing. At one point, one in three beds were used by patients with the virus.

Judges praised the team for a scrupulous approach to infection prevention which saw them successfully avoid any outbreaks of Covid, and allowed patients to continue receiving visitors throughout.

Measures still in place at Ashgate include weekly testing for staff and volunteers, strict cleaning and PPE requirements, and maintaining separate access routes to the rooms of Covid patients.

Chief executive Barbara-Anne Walker said: “When someone is nearing the end of their life, they understandably want to spend the time they have left with the people who matter the most to them.

“Denying visits at this time could have catastrophic consequences to the wellbeing of the patient but also to the family, particularly after their loved one has died.

She added: “Our team made it possible for our patients and their families to have dignity, respect and love during their final days.

“It feels very special to be recognised for the vital work our inpatient unit team do and the extraordinary efforts they have gone to in order to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.”

Ashgate is currently recruiting for registered general nurses to join the award-winning team. For details, go to

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together.” – Andrew Wakefield, editor.