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The National MyCleaning Awards 2024 Winners


Karene Gillon, Domestic of the year award winner

Often overlooked for their hard work and commitment to ensuring cleanliness standards are being met, keeping patients safe from unwanted infections during their stay in hospital, Healthcare Cleaners, otherwise known as Domestic Services are a vital service, deserving of high praise and recognition.

 

It's because of this The National MyCleaning Awards in association with NHS England were created. An annual event to celebrate all that is great within the profession, but also to shine a spotlight and give recognition to those deserving of additional praise for going above and beyond their call of duty.

 

This week, the NHS were proud to announce the winner of The National MyCleaning Awards’ Domestic of The Year as Karene Gillon from Luton & Dunstable University Hospital.

 

The judges from NHS England were immediately impressed by the nomination for Karene, with it showcasing someone who upholds their role and standards to the very highest level, protecting vulnerable patients at all costs and doing so all while she underwent huge personal trauma in her own life.

 

Karene moved to England from Jamaica in 1991 and has been working for the NHS in her current role since 2012, where she oversees the cleanliness of the baby delivery suite, with keeping mums and babies safe from infection at the forefront of her mind on a daily basis.

Karene showcases this as her number one priority by upholding the highest of cleanliness standards, with her work regularly scoring highly on cleaning audits, managing this all despite an ageing estate.

 

Her commitment to maintaining the highest cleaning standards in the delivery suite remains unwavering, even in the face of personal tragedy, which sadly saw the murders of her brother and son in Jamaica in separate incidents in 2023.  During this time Karene exhibited incredible resilience, maintaining her dedication to patients during this profoundly sad period and beyond. Karene didn’t take any time off even though compassionate leave was offered, she said she would rather be at work with her colleagues keeping busy and occupied, but she was able to talk about it with her fellow Domestics and grieve in her own way.

 

Karene is not afraid to challenge people when it comes to the safety of mothers and their babies, including when faced with CQC (Government Care Quality Commission) when she demanded they identify who they are when she found them inside the baby delivery suite. Once their identity was revealed, Karene apologised, but said she needs to protect the babies and their mothers first – CQC noted how much they were impressed by this attitude towards safeguarding.

 

Karene emerges as a powerful exemplar, challenging stereotypes and recognising her impact beyond the routine cleaning duties. Actively engaged in both the employee forum and the diversity, inclusion and belonging group, she participated in formal diversity and inclusion training, graduating as a D, I&B Hero in January 2023. During monthly sessions, Karene candidly shares her experiences as a black Jamaican woman, fostering a powerful and empathetic forum.At the live event, the Domestic Services teams were treated to a personal message from Chief Nursing Officer for England, Dame Ruth May, who wished to send on her thoughts from a clinical perspective to show those in non-clinical that they are appreciated for what they do, stating: “Congratulations and thank you, to each and every one of you; the nominees, and of course the finalists this evening. Thank you for being part of the team. The team that helps care for people at the beginning and at the end of their lives. Doctors, Nurses, Physios, Porters and Cleaners are really important to how we care for patients. You are as important as any other part of the team. Thank You, a real personal thank you for what you do, day in, day out”.

 

Taking place in central London, the National MyCleaning Awards saw six awards presented to the finalists from across the country who made the judges shortlist. The broad range of entries showed just why the NHS Domestic Services deserve to be honoured and praised. Nominations such as that for eventual winners of the Team of The Year Award, which went to Blackpool Hospital Domestic Team, who faced a big challenge in November 2023 when a critical incident unfolded at the hospital. Following a flood and catastrophic power failure in the Women’s and Children’s Building, the cleaning team worked tirelessly to prepare the site for patients’ return despite a lack of electric lighting and short daylight hours.

 

Emma Brookes Head of Soft FM at NHS England said at the event:

“It is my privilege to see so many deserving cleaning staff recognised for the hard work they do every day in ensuring a clean, safe environment that supports excellent, quality patient care across the NHS in England in line with the National Standards for Healthcare Cleanliness 2021.”


Leading Industry Voice Delia Cannings, added: “It’s always an honour and great pleasure to attend recognition events,  particularly when the Healthcare Cleaning and Portering Professionals are being acknowledged for outstanding performance. Each and every one is an inspiration as they contribute to the health and well-being of the nation. I am truly humbled to be amongst these brave, courageous and hard working guardians of the NHS standards”

 

Full list of winners:

 

Healthcare Cleaning Team of The Year Award, sponsored by Medirest:

Blackpool Hospital Domestic Team - Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


Newcomer of The Year Award, sponsored by Decitex:

Leah Torr – South Tyneside & Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust (CHoICE)

 

Leadership of The Year Award, sponsored by GT Cleaning Machines:

Antoniya Zaeva – London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

 

MyAudit Auditor of The Year Award, sponsored by GV Healthcare:

Paula Brooks – Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

 

Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Evans Vanodine:

Sylvia Sinclair – Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

 

MyCleaning Domestic of The Year Award, sponsored by BICSc:

Karene Gillon – Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

 

Congratulations to all the winners and well done to all who made the shortlist.

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