Leanne McIllhinney was pleasantly surprised to hear she had won the Exceptional People Award for March.

“Wow! I can’t believe it,” she says.

Leanne works as an administrator for The Eating Disorder Service (TEDS) for Bath & North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire and is based in Keynsham.

“It feels amazing that I, as an administrative cog in such a huge, complex health trust have been recognised for an Exceptional People Award. It shows that the work and service we are providing joins up on every level, detail and expertise,” she says.

Leanne’s nomination speaks of her as anything but a ‘cog’: “She is in charge of processing our referrals, contacting families to offer appointments, as well as organising training, away days and meetings with other agencies for our eating disorder teams across the patch.”

It continued: “She has fantastic communication skills that have helped us when an unhappy parent phoned in and Leanne was able to reassure them about their child’s care.”

“She will go far and beyond her role at times. She has volunteered to help out with a quality improvement project and produce information leaflets, and she has done a fantastic piece of work by herself. Leanne’s IT skills are legendary in our office!”

Leanne has been with Oxford Health’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services since 2016 and with TEDS since its launch in 2017.

“Before that I spent over a decade working in administration at universities: Warwick Medical School, Bath University and Bristol Medical School.  Before this I obtained qualifications while working at the National Federation of Property Professionals in Warwick. But I always had an interest in mental health and that’s how I ended up in Oxford Health.”

Leanne’s nomination also says that she “injects positivity in the office by sharing her experiences in long distance running, volunteering at an animal farm [as seen in the picture above] and cycling around Europe.”

“That’s true,” she laughs. “I love animals and I volunteer on the Grimsby Community Farm. My husband and I dream of having a small holding one day so I’m practising!”

For now Leanne is enjoying the challenges at TEDS.

“The biggest challenge is perhaps the distances. We have a big patch with five remote clinics – Keynsham, Salisbury, Melksham, Swindon and Marlborough. If you can’t get hold of someone by phone or email you can’t just pop down the corridor.”

Her role has been integral in TEDS standardising the referral and operational processes across this big area as well as organising three multi-family therapy programmes.

“It’s a lot of admin!” she laughs. She is delighted that this ‘invisible work’ has been recognised.

“It’s so important that everything works and I also feel that meeting the standards will help bring the best outcomes for the patients.”

“My favourite part of the job is definitely, without a doubt, the people I get to work with,” she says.

“With my role being so varied, it means I get to work with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders at all levels, whom I find inspiring, kind, hardworking, committed and lovely.”

Leanne will receive a certificate and our thanks for her valued service to the trust and its patients.

Every month we recognise and reward a member of staff that has made a real difference to the trust, our people and our patients. Nominations are welcome from staff, service users, patients, or friends and family of service users and patients. If you would like to nominate someone exceptional you can download a form here.