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President's Gold Medals awarded for exceptional service during the Covid-19 pandemic

THE recipients of a new IPEM award for exceptional service during the Covid pandemic have been announced.

The President’s Gold Medals for Exceptional Service during the Covid pandemic recognise some of the unsung heroes in Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering during the pandemic. They will be showcased at MPEC 2021, with the winners invited to make a presentation on their contributions and to also write an article for SCOPE.         

The Gold Medals were awarded to:

Dr Richard Axell

Dr Axell is Principal Clinical Scientist at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


He volunteered to work within the Nightingale Hospital in the Excel Centre in London to assist with the many pieces of medical equipment in use. Not only was he volunteering to work within a highly challenging environment, but he was also challenging himself by working outside of his usual field of urodynamics. On the long shifts, he also participated in many clinical duties, such as proning patients and changing bed linen thereby demonstrating how he put the care of the patient and supporting the clinical team as his priority. Dr Axell demonstrated exemplary dedication as a Clinical Scientist within the field of medical physics and clinical engineering by volunteering at the Nightingale Hospital.


Morriston Hospital Medical Device Training Team

The team at Swansea Bay University Health Board. designed, developed and delivered three significant pieces of work with considerable impact on improving patient care and demonstrating excellence and leadership during the COVID pandemic:

1. Back to the Floor - Essential skills for retired or trainee nurses and redeployed staff

2. Training redeployed staff to prepare intravenous infusions ready for the mammoth task of treating very sick covid patients in an ITU settings

3. Medical gas and oxygen safety prescribing course to ensure that staff supervising and caring for all patients were also included in the new updated training. The team are working nationally to launch an e-learning course in 2021 for medical gas and oxygen safety. This will be made available to all NHS staff, free of charge.

Southeast Mobility and Rehabilitation Technology (SMART) Centre Healthcare Science, Edinburgh

The team led the design, manufacture and distribution of face visors during the PPE shortages at the start of the pandemic for NHS Lothian and the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership (EHSCP). Some 34,000 visors were produced in the first eight weeks. The SMART Clinical Scientists and clinical technologists (rehabilitation engineers and prosthetic and orthotic technicians) galvanised and led all the SMART centre staff to create a cohesive and effective production team.  Everyone involved made essential contributions.

Non-ionising Radiation Team, Department of Radiology, Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering, University Hospital of Wales

The team developed new referral pathways, responding to increased demand in spite of the constraints of the pandemic. The Non-Ionising Radiation Team demonstrated hard work, flexibility, resilience and performance of the highest standard throughout the pandemic. The team remained onsite from the beginning and quickly adapted service delivery, under extreme clinical pressures and uncertainty, to maintain urgent Covid-19 and non‑Covid vascular imaging. Scanning during the pandemic included high-risk Covid-19 wards, including ICU and surge hospitals, with acutely unwell and challenging patients.  As routine imaging and surgeries reopened, the team quickly re-adapted to manage increasing non-Covid workloads alongside acute ongoing Covid-19 demands and have prevented waiting list backlogs to ensure all patients receive a good service in the recovery phase.


Professor Stephen O’Connor, IPEM’s President, said: ‘The Gold Medal was suggested by a member of the President's Advisory Panel earlier this year. I gained approval from Finance and Business Planning for a maximum of 5 awards, for either individuals or teams.

‘These Gold Medal awards recognise some of the unsung heroes in Medical Physics and Clinical and Biomedical Engineering teams during the Covid pandemic.’