A local NHS health worker’s dedication and commitment to her work with young offenders experiencing mental health conditions has been recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s new year honours list.
Paula Phillips received the honour for her work with the Trust’s forensic child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS). The forensic CAMHS team provides services for young people under 18 years of age who are in contact with the criminal justice system – or are at a high risk of entering it – and who present a risk to others. The team also provides support to two secure units in Yorkshire – the Adel Beck Secure Children’s Home in Leeds and Wetherby Young Offenders’ Institution.
A Trust employee since 2003, Paula initially had an interest in working in probation. After seeing the levels of mental health conditions present in young offenders, she decided to move into the health sector as a mental health nurse. She is currently the general manager of forensic CAMHS and Newton Lodge (The Yorkshire Centre for Forensic Psychiatry), a 90 bed medium secure hospital based at Fieldhead in Wakefield. The service provides care and treatment for women and men with mental health conditions and men with a learning disability from across Yorkshire and the Humber.
Paula is also currently studying for a PhD with the University of Huddersfield, exploring the differing attitudes towards young offenders adopted by workers in the criminal justice field.
Paula is no stranger to success, having previously received accolades at the Nursing Times Awards in 2014, where she was shortlisted in the categories Nurse of the Year and Nurse Leader of the Year. In the same year, she was highly commended in the category Clinical Leader of the Year at the prestigious Health Service Journal Awards.
Paula, who lives in Wakefield, said: “I was absolutely stunned when I received the letter. I wasn’t sure what it was at first but I sat down and took it in and couldn’t believe it.
“It’s amazing to be rewarded for something I believe I should be doing. It’s an honour to do my job.
“This is an award not just for me, but also for my team and the Trust. It is an amazing reward for me personally but I don’t think I would have achieved what I have without the support of the Trust and the people around me. It has been so amazing.”
Chief executive Steven Michael said: “Paula goes above and beyond in everything that she does and I am absolutely delighted to see that she has been chosen to receive an MBE.
“It’s an honour to have someone as enthusiastic and committed as her working for our Trust, and for her to be recognised in this way is entirely deserved.”
An MBE was also awarded to former Trust medical director Dr Nisreen Booya for her services to healthcare, particularly mental health.
Find out more about the work of the Trust at www.southwestyorkshire.nhs.uk.