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Lancashire Care nurse wins prestigious national award for work with children with learning disabilities and autism

Posted on the 11th July 2018

A nurse with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust has beaten hundreds of other nominations from across the country to win the UK’s most prestigious nursing accolade for her pioneering work with children with learning disabilities and autism in Lancashire.

Tracey Hartley-Smith, Integrated Service Leader in the Learning Disability and Complex Needs Team at Lancashire Care, was one of five finalists in the Learning Disability Nursing Award category of the Royal College of Nursing Institute’s (RCNi) Nurse Awards 2018.

Tracey, who is from Chorley, was given the award for recognising a gap in service for children with learning disabilities and autism in North Lancashire and developing a service that resulted in positive outcomes for families and recognition from stakeholders. This was done through determination and dedication, and led to the specialist nursing team offering a range of evidence based interventions for children with complex and challenging behaviours.

Sponsored by NHS England, the Learning Disability Nursing Award recognises and celebrates individual learning disability nurses or teams who have used their initiative, insight and skills to make a real difference to the health, wellbeing and social inclusion of people with learning disabilities.

Tracey Hartley-Smith, Integrated Service Leader in the Learning Disability and Complex Needs Team at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“I’m thrilled to have been given the Learning Disability Nursing Award. This is a huge honour for me and the Trust. Previously, there was no specialist nursing service for children with learning disabilities and autism in North Lancashire and so we developed a nurse-led multi-disciplinary service that is now fully established. I am proud to be part of a skilled and dedicated team in central Lancashire whose expertise, knowledge and hard work enabled us to make a real difference to the well being of children with learning disabilities and autism in other parts of Lancashire. This has led to positive outcomes for families and received widespread recognition. The service is working hard to ensure that there is sufficient capacity locally to meet the needs of children and young people now and in the future.”

Following on from the success of this work, Tracey is now working with other NHS organisations and local commissioners to develop an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnostic pathway, which is planned for commencement later in the year. As a finalist, Tracey attended the awards on Wednesday 4 July at the Westminster Park Plaza Hotel in London where the winner was announced.

Now in their 31st year, the RCNi Nurse Awards celebrate the very best in nursing care. Covering a wide range of specialties such as learning disability nursing, child health, cancer nursing, mental health nursing and nursing older people, the awards are widely regarded as the highest accolade for nurses in the UK.