We're finalists in two categories at the HSJ Awards this November

Our surgical teams celebrate success
The Cytopsonge Team: Hannah Olejnik, Tyler Megson and Claire McDonald.


Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) is delighted to announce that it has two finalists in the HSJ Awards later this year.

Our work to dramatically reduce waiting lists for treatment has been shortlisted in the Performance Recovery category. And work on improving the treatment of Barrett’s Oesophagus has been shortlisted in the Modernising Diagnostics category.

Performance Recovery

After the pandemic, the Trust turned one of the longest waiting list backlogs in the country to one of the shortest - and in record-breaking time.

In April last year, CHFT had 509 patients waiting for more than 78 weeks. That number is now down to zero*.

Tim Briggs CBE, National Director for Clinical Improvement and Elective Recovery for NHS England, hailed the efforts as “phenomenal” in a visit to the Trust earlier this year.

Director of Operations for Surgery, Thomas Strickland, said: “We know that waiting for treatment can be an anxious time, and we’re so pleased that we’ve been able to make a real difference so that our patients receive the right care, at the right time, without unnecessary delays.

“This fantastic achievement is thanks to the joint efforts of several CHFT teams, including schedulers, medical secretaries, validators, operational managers, general managers and of course pre-op assessment and all on the clinical frontline.

“It’s a testament to the hard work of our colleagues, combining innovation and genuine multi-disciplinary team working across the Trust.

“Our efforts were a dramatic response in response to a unique situation – and we saw a radical turnaround. We are looking forward to presenting to the judging panel in October, and have our fingers crossed for even better news at the Awards night.”

Modernising Diagnostics

As a result of the pandemic, patients with Barrett’s Oesophagus (a disease of the gullet, which can lead to oesophageal cancer) had markedly longer waiting times for  assessment.

In response, CHFT brought in a procedure called Cytosponge, to ensure these patients received timely assessment and treatment. The Cytosponge is a new technology, where patients swallow a sponge on a string, to obtain an accurate sample for investigation.

The Trust is now one of a limited number of Trusts around the UK that has completely caught up with surveillance of patients with Barrett’s Oesophagus. Consultant in Upper GI, Bariatric and General Surgery, Arin Saha, said: “The team has been fantastic in delivering this project with such high-quality outcomes and the project is also an excellent example of collaboration across teams.

“We have been grateful for the support and funding from the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance and the enthusiasm and determination of colleagues across the Trust, including Deputy Director of Operations in Surgery Laura Cooper, Lead Cancer Manager Maureen Overton and the endoscopy teams who have worked well to support the project.

“It’s amazing new technology and our organisation has shown a willingness to embrace innovation to speed up cancer diagnosis”.

Pictured below are the Cytopsonge Team: ACP Hannah Olejnik and PAs Tyler Megson and Claire McDonald.

More on the HSJ Awards

A total of 1,456 entries were received for this year’s Awards, with 223 projects and individuals reaching the final shortlist.

The shortlisting recognises an outstanding contribution to healthcare and secures a place at the prestigious awards ceremony later this year.

HSJ Editor, Alastair McLellan, adds; “It always gives me great pleasure to congratulate our finalists at this stage of the judging process and this year is no exception as we acknowledge CHFT for being shortlisted in the category of Performance Recovery.

“It’s been so encouraging to hear that 2023 has been record-breaking in terms of the number of applicants and, as ever, the calibre of entries left our panel of expert judges with some tough decisions to deliberate over.

“However, it’s always important to remember that the HSJ Awards are not just a celebration of success stories but also a platform to shape the future of the NHS.

“We can’t wait to welcome our finalists to the awards ceremony in November and to recognise and applaud such impressive achievements across the sector – as well as coming together to help mark the 75th birthday of our great NHS.”

The selected winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at Evolution London on November 16th, 2023.