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OFI congratulates one of its manual handling consultants, Emma Tarpey, for her receipt of an AXREM (Association of Healthcare Technology Providers for Imaging, Radiotherapy and Care) ‘Clinical Individual’ award. This was announced at the AXREM UKIO Virtual Awards last month. Emma received her award on the morning of Monday 12th July 2021 from AXREM director Sally Eddington, who travelled to Barnet Hospital to present it to her.

Emma is one of OFI’s most experienced manual handling, people moving and handling, and Display Screen Equipment (DSE) consultants, and provides regular training for workforces across the UK in the areas of education and injury prevention. Her award is fantastic news for OFI, as it attests to the high-calibre work and dedication that our consultants bring to UK industry.

Sponsored by Fujifilm, the award is dedicated to a Clinical Individual ‘who went above and beyond during COVID’, and reflects the passionate work Emma performed throughout the pandemic as a clinical manual handling advisor for the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.

Prior to the pandemic, Emma worked for Royal Free London part-time in-between her work for OFI, but as circumstances changed, the pressing conditions and influx of patients at the hospital necessitated her switch to full-time work. She continued to work for OFI clients whenever she could find the time.

Emma has provided crucial support to the hospital’s clinical and rehabilitation teams, in particular by attending to the special manual handling needs of complex patients, many of whom are overweight and/or obese, and hence require special assistance.

Emma helped establish training programmes to teach clinical staff how to move and prone COVID-19 patients to assist them with breathing and rehabilitation. This task presented numerous challenges, including sourcing clinical care staff and getting people to train them at a time when clinicians have been pressed for time and resources. Since implementing these programmes, Emma has run dozens of manual handling training sessions that are directly related to COVID-19 response. At present, she has trained over 250 staff in the Trust.

Asked by OFI what the award means to her personally, Emma has remarked that it feels satisfying to be recognised for the hard work she put into her profession throughout the pandemic. Assisting patients frequently entails long hours of work that go unrecognised, so it is a nice feeling when the professional community steps back and acknowledges what you have achieved. Emma is passionate about applying the skills she gains in clinical settings to her work with industry as an OFI consultant.

When presented with her award, Emma said, “Thank you AXREM, and the sponsors that made these awards possible. It is fantastic to be able to recognise the great work that has been done by so many during the last year and amazing to win such an incredible award, thank you!

Running training programmes for the Trust was not always something that could be done with ease. Emma’s work has required constant motivation and a positive attitude in the face of hardship. Emma has remarked that what kept her motivated was the sense of community she gained working with the NHS. Developing close relationships with patients has not always been possible during the pandemic, so Emma has relied on her ‘NHS family’ to bring her the strength and encouragement she needs. Working at the Trust has been stressful but also incredibly rewarding, says Emma.

Emma has been described as patient-focused, proactive and caring. Asked about this by OFI, she has explained that her patients are at the heart of what she does. As an instructor, it is easy to get caught up in the training aspect of manual handling, but Emma places emphasis on the people she and other staff are dealing with. Her work philosophy revolves around a humane and personable approach to patients.

It is this same philosophy that guides her approach to OFI clients, and that allows her to fulfil OFI’s mission of taking the health and safety of UK industry to new heights, whether through manual handling training or DSE risk assessment. We are very proud to have Emma as part of the OFI team!