Parkinson's Excellence Network Awards 2023: who are our winners?

Here are the winners and highly commended services of the Parkinson's Excellence Network Awards 2023. From 23 initial entries, 12 finalists were chosen. Read on to discover the exceptional work that brought the finalists out on top.

Parkinson's teams and practitioners from across the 4 nations of the UK were brought together on Wednesday 22 November in a glittering celebration at Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Jane Asher, Parkinson's UK President, was our host for the evening once again. She was joined by guest presenters, journalists and Movers and Shakers podcasters Rory Cellan-Jones and Mark Mardell; Director of Engagement for the Parkinson's Excellence Network, Emergency Medicine Consultant and co-founder of Professionals with Parkinson's, Dr Jonny Acheson; and Chief Executive of the National Garden Scheme, George Plumptre. Musical entertainment was provided by the talented Tomas Gisby.

Find out more about the Excellence Network Awards.


The winners

Innovation in practice award and Excellence award winner

A Collaborative approach in utilising existing NHS digital systems in novel ways to improve timely administration of Parkinson's Medication in hospital - NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s nursing, pharmacy and digital service teams, Ayr, Scotland.

A specialist Parkinson's nurse, pharmacy service and digital service joined forces to combat the problem of inpatients with Parkinson's not getting medication on time. A novel use of the existing whiteboard system, alongside ward staff education, was implemented across 3 phases at no ongoing cost to the health board.

This way of working has seen impressive results, with 87% of people with Parkinson's on targeted wards getting their medication within 30 minutes. Due to its low cost and ease of use, the initiative could be rolled out to any NHS service where the same digital systems are in use.

View the NHS Ayrshire and Arran e-poster (PDF, 1.6MB).

Watch the NHS Ayrshire and Arran video on YouTube.

Sharing learning and education award

Improving how we talk about Parkinson’s dementia - University College London, London, England.

This project took a creative approach to challenge the discomfort that can exist around Parkinson's dementia. Workshops with artists and people with Parkinson's took place and resulted in a pair of co-produced booklets aimed at improving dementia conversations between clinicians and people with Parkinson's. Guidance for clinicians on diagnosing and treating Parkinson's dementia is included in the clinicians' booklet.

View the University College London e-poster (PDF, 1012KB).

Watch the University College London video on YouTube.

View the toolkit for detecting and managing Parkinson's dementia, along with a link to the patient booklet.

Community support award

A national education and peer support network for professionals, enhancing the community exercise experience for those with Parkinson's across the UK - The Exercise Hub, UK-wide.

The Exercise Hub was established by a small group of passionate and dedicated physiotherapists to raise the profile and quality of exercise provision for people with Parkinson's. It has now grown to be a vibrant community of over 500 practitioners who share advice and best practice across an online platform. Monthly 'Zoominars' take place with expert speakers, and 3 in-person study days have been held. Core Exercise Hub members have worked with Parkinson's UK to develop resources for people with Parkinson's and professionals, and have been integral in shaping Parkinson's UK's Physical activity strategy.

View the Exercise Hub e-poster (PDF, 297KB).

Watch the Exercise Hub video on YouTube.

Highly commended entrants

Innovation in practice

Time Critical Medication: A quality improvement approach - Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust, Cornwall, England.

This initiative aimed to make sure people with Parkinson’s receive their medication within 30 minutes of their prescribed time within inpatient community hospitals. 

The innovative approach demonstrated the positive impact of people with Parkinson’s taking medications on time and emphasised the success of this across different sites and wards.

View the Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust e-poster (PDF, 706KB).

Watch the Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust video on YouTube.

Sharing learning and education

'Connect and Conquer'- A health, community and charity embedded partnership programme to increase exercise and physical activity provision for people living with Parkinson's - Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Bodmin and Active Cornwall, Bodmin and Truro, England.

This service brought together health, community and charitable organisations to share expertise and resources and also train Parkinson’s friendly providers. This goal was to get more people with Parkinson’s active.

View the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Active Cornwall e-poster (PDF, 214KB).

Watch the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Active Cornwall video on YouTube.

Community support

The Get Started Programme – it's more than just online exercise! - Reach Your Peak and 1FitLife, UK-wide.

An evidence-based online exercise programme for people with Parkinson’s that is engaging, fun, informative and inclusive. It is available to anyone, anywhere at any ability and demonstrates the advantage of using professional and enthusiastic practitioners.

View the Reach Your Peak and 1FitLife e-poster (PDF, 2MB).

Watch the Reach Your Peak and 1FitLife video on YouTube.

Fighting back against Parkinson's - Bigger & Better, Warwick, England.

An organisation focused on exercise opportunities for active and newly diagnosed people with Parkinson’s with high intensity, high frequency and high amplitude elements. These classes reached people in the community who fear being isolated and lonely, improving fitness, confidence, and mental health.

View the Bigger & Better e-poster (PDF, 5.7MB).

Watch the Bigger & Better video on YouTube.

New awards for 2023

People's choice award

This year the People's choice award went to 2 nominees whom the judges just couldn't choose between:

Julie Jones, Specialist Physiotherapist

Julie has an immense thirst for knowledge and her practice is renowned. She is on a constant quest to improve care and support for people with Parkinson’s. Not just for people directly under her care, but also for others across the UK. 

She’s a Chief Scientific Officer and Parkinson’s UK Clinical Academic Fellow and was recently promoted to Associate Dean for Economic and Community Engagement at Robert Gordon University. She’s involved with the NHS clinical session, the North of Scotland Parkinson’s Research Interest Group and is the Chair of the Parkinson’s Active Group. 

She is co-lead of the Parkinson’s Excellence Network Exercise Hub. And she provides invaluable assistance to people with Parkinson’s in her inspirational Parkinson’s Beats drumming classes. But what makes her stand out is at her core, she genuinely cares for people with Parkinson’s. She is in their corner.

Suzanne Seymour, Neuro Physiotherapist 

Suzanne's 10-week ‘Power Up’ course, where loved ones and carers can attend, has been transformational and inspiring. She has given hope to, and improved the fitness levels of, countless people with Parkinson’s. And her support doesn't end there. After the exercise classes, she holds information and education sessions on a wider range of subjects, including the effects of Parkinson’s on brains and bodies, how medication works, wellbeing, depression and anxiety. 

Lifetime achievement award

Liz Scott, Parkinson's Disease Nurse Specialist

Liz has made an outstanding contribution to the care of people with Parkinson’s in her 28 years as a Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Specialist. She started her career in 1992 as part of a community project in Hythe, Hampshire to support people with Parkinson’s. In 1994, she relocated to Oxford and cared for people within the local community at all stages of the condition, from those who were newly diagnosed to those at the end of their lives.

She ran outpatient clinics, made home visits and advised ward colleagues on caring for people with Parkinson’s. Liz also completed the nurse prescribing course and became an Independent Nurse Prescriber, a service greatly valued by all her patients.

For many years she has been a Nurse Adviser on the Parkinson’s UK national helpline advising people with Parkinson’s about their symptoms and treatments.

She is a regular speaker at the local Amersham and High Wycombe branch of Parkinson’s UK and is a columnist in the local newsletter.

Since 2018 she has been a regular speaker for Fighting Fit weekends, giving up her Sunday morning to lead a session on Parkinson’s medication for people who have been newly diagnosed.

Because of her energy and commitment to people living with Parkinson’s, Liz was recognised by the Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Association as ‘Nurse of the Year’ in 2018.

Her contribution and dedication to caring for people with Parkinson’s over 28 years is immeasurable and her professionalism is inspirational.

If you'd like to get in touch with any of our winners or highly commended entrants, contact the Excellence Network team by emailing [email protected].

Read the awards abstracts

See all of the abstracts entered for the Excellence Network Awards. Abstracts are displayed by category, starting with those shortlisted for stage 2, including their e-posters, and followed by the rest of the abstracts for each category.