Hard work during COVID brings Royal recognition for Isabelle

An Oxford Health colleague who worked for the Community Care Support Team helping vulnerable patients during the COVID-19 pandemic has received a significant honour – The British Empire Medal.

Hard work during COVID brings Royal recognition for Isabelle

Isabelle Gouget has worked for the NHS for over 25 years as an Occupational Therapist.

Her work during the pandemic was recognised with the awarding of a British Empire Medal, which is granted in recognition of meritorious civil or military service. In this case, the award was made for services to Occupational Therapy during COVID-19.

Isabelle received her award from the Lord Lieutenant and High Sherriff on the 24th July at County Hall in Oxford. She was also invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in May.

She explained: “It was a big surprise to find out that I had been nominated and chosen to receive this honour. However, I see this very much as recognition for all the hard work and commitment of everyone I was working with at that time.”

The COVID pandemic presented massive and wide-ranging challenges to the NHS and people like Isabelle took it in their stride and did what was needed to keep patients safe.

She said: “I am an Occupational Therapist and my role during COVID involved training staff for the Community Care Support service which provided reablement care to patients to help them to recover at home after an illness.

“When the COVID pandemic struck in March 2020 we were under immense pressure and were subsequently classed as an essential service; we were doing more work than ever to keep people safe at home and away from the hospital.

“This included caring for patients with COVID at home, in addition to elderly and disabled patients who, due to their clinical vulnerability, it would be have been worse for them to go to hospital.

“To cope with the demand, staff from other services such as Speech and Language Therapy and Health Visiting were redeployed to our service and needed training to provide care to the patients. Our team had 25 staff to train quickly to make them safe and operational to practice.

“Thanks to everyone’s hard work and commitment, we provided excellent care throughout the whole county during COVID.

“As a French national who was nominated for such a prestigious British award, I would like all my other international colleagues across the Trust to appreciate that we can all be recognised for our hard work and contribution to the NHS.”

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Published: 8 August 2023