Forth Valley speech therapist award gets them talking

Sally Boa, centre, with Dr Edward Duncan from Stirling University and Anne Letford of Strathcarron Hospice
Sally Boa, centre, with Dr Edward Duncan from Stirling University and Anne Letford of Strathcarron Hospice

A speech therapist is the talk of the town after lifting a top accolade at the Scottish Health Awards 2013.

Sally Boa won the Innovation category for her work while on secondment at Strathcarron Hospice.

The awards, which were handed over at a ceremony in Edinburgh last week, recognise and reward dedicated NHS staff, support workers, volunteers and specialist teams who go the extra mile to provide outstanding patient care.

The NHS Forth Valley speech and language therapist was rewarded for her work with patients, staff and an experienced group of applied healthcare researchers to develop innovative, yet practical, research and intervention to improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients in the final days of their lives.

As a result, Strathcarron has now developed a patient-centred agenda, which, while still giving safe and effective care, places the emphasis on supporting patients to accomplish what is important to them in the final days of their lives.

Sally is also a PhD student at the University of Stirling and has collaborated with researchers from both the Scottish Government Nursing Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit located there and the University of Glasgow.

Congratulating her on the accolade, Marjory MacKay, director of nursing at Strathcarron, said: “I am delighted to hear that Sally’s work has been nationally recognised.

“Her research at Strathcarron has helped people live until they die. Very few areas of health care can make such a claim.

“Sally’s work also challenges the public perception of what hospices are. They are not sad, depressing buildings full of people in death’s waiting room but a centre of vibrant, active, humorous, hope-cherishing achievement and care – where sad things also happen.

“Sally’s research sets a high bar for what true person-centred care can be and can achieve.”

Jane Grant, NHS Forth Valley chief executive, said: “These awards are a superb way of saying thank you to those who are always prepared to go the extra mile to help others.

“Successes like this not only recognise the care we give our patients but also act as an inspiration to colleagues throughout our organisation.”

Others from NHS who made the award’s shortlist were midwife Debbie Forbes, Dr Dan Beckett and volunteer Alison Kilgour.