Kris and ‘IT saviours’ take Exceptional People Awards for January

Senior Mental Health Practitioner Kris Gach from Bucks CAMHS Crisis team and a self-created team on IT saviours in Oxfordshire mental health services are the January winners in Exceptional People Awards.

Kris and ‘IT saviours’ take Exceptional People Awards for January

The winners received their prizes from Trust Chair David Walker and CEO Dr Nick Walker today (Monday 16 January) in a small ceremony at the Trust headquarters at Littlemore Mental Health Centre.

David Walker gave a warm welcome and said:

“There’s no doubt that the NHS is going through tough times, so it really is worth celebrating those bright sparks who go over and above and of whom their peers tell us about.”

Excellent team work in crisis


Lily Stroud, Alanah Johnson and Oliver Smith picked up the award on behalf of their 20+ colleagues.

The self-created team of IT saviours is exactly what the title says: over 20 clinicians and managers who got together and created a patient information solution in Microsoft Teams when the Trust’s clinical systems went down in the autumn. They were nominated by Associate Medical Director for CAMHS Emma Fergusson who wrote:

“The notes systems that this team set up for us in Microsoft Teams enabled clinicians to continue to care for patients. It ensured safety as we could all access the information. Their process and implementation are an example of excellent team working in a crisis. The models they set up were picked up and copied by adult and old age services.”

Emma singled out team manager Alanah Johnson who pulled the group together:

“She is not senior person in our service – it’s impressive how she rose to the challenge and showed leadership.”

Nick Broughton and and David Walker were duly impressed by the work the volunteers had done. David said:

“This is a story that needs to be told at a time when the NHS is being critisised for being overly rigid and bureaucratic – this is an example of how people on the front line freely give their own time for the benefit of patients.”

One of the volunteer saviours, deputy team manager Oliver Smith from TalkingSpace Plus service, said:

“It’s really lovely to hear these staff have been recognised. At times we had to tell them to take a weekend off!”

And Alanah Johnson gave credit to all her colleagues who had so readily responded to her call to action:

“It was lovely to see how people from all teams of different sizes took part and said, yes, I’ll do that. Nothing was too much for them.”

“Always reliable and smiling”

Kris Gach

Kris Gach

Kris Gach, Senior Mental Health Practitioner and Crisis Lead in the Buckinghamshire Child and Adolescent Community Mental Health Services was nominated by Assistant Psychologist Tayla Hurlock. She wrote:

“Kris has an exceptionally demanding as the crisis lead, and he shows a great deal of compassion toward the young people and families he works with.

“My nomination is hugely driven by seeing Kris constantly going above and beyond his role to support young people, families and the team. The team have observed him starting shifts early to facilitate smoother and more consistent care for young people. You can always rely on Kris to do a job well and feel confident that it will be done efficiently.”

She also noted:

“He is also ALWAYS smiling and has a great sense of humour, which is paramount in teams where there is high stress and demand – a good team boost!”

exceptional people award bannerNominate now!

Nominate someone special or a top team for Exceptional People Awards now! You can find the online nomination forms here.

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Published: 16 January 2023