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Innovative children’s service and new liquid biopsy method to treat cancer faster, amongst projects nominated for healthcare awards

Gwasanaeth arloesol i blant a dull biopsi hylif newydd i drin canser yn gyflymach ymhlith prosiectau sydd wedi'u henwebu ar gyfer gwobrau gofal iechyd

The Advancing Healthcare Awards Cymru (AHAs) shines a spotlight on and celebrates the work of allied health professionals, healthcare scientists and other skilled colleagues who have implemented innovative healthcare practices in Wales – with awards sponsored by the Welsh Government.

The finalists for the Welsh Government award for ‘New Ways of Working’ are:

  • Advanced Clinical Practitioner Dietitian Led service for Gastroenterology, at Betsi Cadwaladr UHB
  • The QuicDNA Project at the All Wales Medical Genomics Service (AWMGS)
  • Alison Jones, Clinical Lead Medicines Management Dietitian and Hywel Dda Medicines Management Team from Hywel Dda UHB
  • Minor Injuries Radiographer-Led Discharge Service, at Cardiff and Vale UHB

The finalists for the Welsh Government award for ‘Improving Access to Health and Care’ are:

  • Children’s Centre Psychology: Early Intervention Support for Children with Additional Needs and their families, at Aneurin Bevan UHB
  • Come and Cook With Your Child project by the Dietetics Department at Betsi Cadwaladr UHB
  • Merthyr PIPYN (Pwysau Iach Plant Yng Nghymru / Healthy Children Healthy Weight in Wales) at Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB

An early intervention support service designed to place the experiences and needs of families of children with additional needs at the centre of their work, has also been nominated for improving families’ access to evidence-based, psychologically informed support.

Rebekah Sutherland, from the ‘Children’s Centre Psychology: Early Intervention Support for Children with Additional Needs and their families’ team, and Clinical Psychologist at Aneurin Bevan UHB said:

“We are thrilled to be a finalist in the AHAs Cymru in the Improving Access to Health and Care category. We are immensely proud of the journey we have been on to develop an early intervention service for children with additional needs that responds to what families say they need from the beginning.

We have worked hard to ensure that that every family has access to timely psychologically informed information and support which addresses the wellbeing needs of the whole family and empowers them to create their own solutions.”

The QuicDNA project has been nominated for its innovation in helping to diagnose and treat cancer faster, through a new liquid biopsy technique involving a simple blood test, thus, improving access to better and more targeted cancer treatments.

Sian Morgan, Consultant Clinical Scientist and Laboratory Director for All Wales Medical Genomics Service (AWMGS) said:

‘I am overwhelmed with gratitude that the QuicDNA Project is one of the finalists for the ‘New Ways of Working’ award at this year’s AHA Cymru Awards. I am so honoured to have QuicDNA recognised in this way.

The QuicDNA project is a truly collaborative project between the NHS, third sector, pharmaceutical and industry. We are grateful that the project which we are so passionate about also resonates with others.

We hope that this recognition by the AHAs Cymru can serve as an inspiration to others within healthcare, and we’re proud that the project will allow cancer patients with lung cancer to access treatments faster in the future.’  

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan said:

“I am really pleased and proud to see the hard work and dedication of allied health professionals and healthcare scientists, in delivering a Healthier Wales, being celebrated, and recognised at the Welsh AHAs.

Despite the huge pressures they face every day, the commitment of colleagues across NHS Wales in thinking innovatively, to deliver the highest quality of care to the people of Wales, is exceptional.

The breadth of the new and innovative practices on display from our finalists just shows the vital contributions of these professions, in keeping people well.”

Ruth Crowder, Wales’ Chief Allied Health Professions Adviser said:

“I am delighted to see the submissions to this wide range of awards, demonstrating the innovation and hard work that allied health professionals and healthcare scientists are putting into improving services and outcomes for the people of Wales.

Every entrant and shortlisted finalist should be proud of the expertise they have demonstrated.”

Rob Orford, Wales’ Chief Scientific Adviser for Health said:

“The AHAs Cymru not only celebrates the vital work of healthcare scientists, allied health professionals and those who support them, but also provides an opportunity to share innovations, highlighting new ways of working and best practice.

It has been so inspiring to learn more about the excellent work taking place individually and collaboratively across the Welsh health and social care system.”

The winners of the AHA Cymru awards will be announced on 20 October 2023.

Notes to editors

Notes to editors

The finalists for the Welsh Government award for ‘New Ways of Working’ are:

  • Kate Harrod-Wild and Jeanette Starkey, Betsi Cadwaladr UHB - with their ‘Advanced Clinical Practitioner Dietitian Led service for Gastroenterology’, a service that provides initial assessment, diagnostics, and management for patients to reduce waiting times and free up consultant slots.
  • Sian Morgan and the team across All Wales Medical Genomics Service - for their “QuicDNA Project”, a revolutionary project designed to accelerate the clinical implementation of liquid biopsy testing at cancer suspicion to give patients quicker access to targeted treatments, and therefore improve patient survival rates.
  • Alison Jones and Hywel Dda Medicines Management Team - who adopted a pre-paid card for purchasing gluten free foods, which proved to be the preferred method for all. They now support more patients than ever and save on costs while doing so.
  • Richard Holford and the team at Cardiff & Vale UHB - for their Minor Injuries Radiographer-Led Discharge Service. A prudent, cost-effective means of filtering patients requiring emergency care and optimising the use of the reporting radiographer workforce to markedly improve waiting times and diagnostic accuracy.


The finalists for the Welsh Government award for ‘Improving Access to Health and Care’ are:

  • Dr Jeni McElwee and Michael Charles, Aneurin Bevan UHB, for their project ‘Children’s Centre Psychology: Early Intervention Support for Children with Additional Needs and their families’, a service created to be shaped by the voices of children with developmental delays and/or disabilities and their families. This has since been embedded within the three Gwent Children's Centres so that families can access evidence-based, psychologically informed support.
  • Andrea Basu and the Betsi Cadwaladr Public Health Dietetics Team for their project, ‘Come and Cook With Your Child’ which takes a partnership approach between dietetics and school communities. Parents and children jointly participate in practical learning and cooking activities in their primary school, increasing knowledge, skills, and confidence in eating well, trying new foods, and preparing family meals together.
  • Shelley Powell and the team at Cwm Taf Morgannwg for their work with Merthyr PIPYN (Pwysau Iach Plant Yng Nghymru / Healthy Children Healthy Weight in Wales), a children and families based intervention nested within a strong whole systems approach to improving families healthy lifestyle behaviours in Merthyr Tydfil.