Celebrating and promoting the best in UK prisons, probation and youth justice
COMMENDEE 2020-21: Jacqui Wizard has spent a quarter of a century providing outstanding nursing at HMP Grendon, where she is now Head of Healthcare. She receives a Commendation for not only the excellence of her work, but its characteristic focus on giving the best possible care to her charges and always aiming to deliver to the standard they would receive in a community setting.
Claire Windle, Lead Nurse and Initial Nominator says Jacqui started her nursing career as a Prison Service nurse in HMP Grendon 25 years ago, then completed her Officer training and worked as a Wing Officer and Healthcare Officer for 13 years until 2010 when healthcare provision was contracted out of the Prison Service – and Jacqui chose to remain nursing in HMP Grendon where she “is well-known for her compassion, hard work and dedication to her patients.”
Claire says Jacqui “has always advocated for patients and their right to receive care equivalent to that of the community. By initiating pathways and building links with key contacts in secondary care, Jacqui has been able to ensure equality and enablement for patients that require specialist care. These initiatives have also helped to reduce the number of patients that need to attend hospital and upskilled the on-site nursing team to deliver care on site.”
She describes Jacqui as “fundamental in the procurement and installation of digital innovations”, like Telemedicine and mobile tablet devices, adding that “not only does this reduce the need for external appointments but can be used in collaboration with partner sites and services to ensure appropriate care is always on hand.”
Claire notes that “Together we make things better” is one of Care UK’s core values – and it’s “a value which Jacqui always demonstrates.” She also praises Jacqui’s leadership, which “enables a collaborative approach to patient care ensuring all are given the opportunity to progress to rehabilitation and reduce the risk of reoffending.”
Carole Roe, Treasurer of Friends of Grendon, and Butler Trust Local Champion, calls Jacqui “a true culture carrier of the Grendon ethos, having worked here delivering healthcare for over 25 years and displaying an absolute passion for her work that has never wavered.” Carole says Jacqui “is admired by colleagues in every part of the prison who speak of her constant desire to share good practice, to develop the breadth of issues that can be handled in-house, avoiding any external visits unless absolutely necessary – something that can put pressure on the staff that have to accompany, and also on the prisoner who often feels that a handcuffed hospital visit is humiliating and uncomfortable.”
Carole says that one colleague told her that “if it weren’t for Jacqui as a person, the service we provide here wouldn’t be the same. She is constantly moving our services forward and as soon she’s got any new initiative working well, she passes it on to a colleague and starts to tackle the next issue. The healthcare service we provide here is like nothing I’ve seen in the prison service before, and that’s down to Jacqui. Not only do we treat health issues that prisoners have as they crop up, we are proud of our ‘through the gate journey’ concept, which means that from when a prisoner comes through the gate to when they leave we help and support them. Before a prisoner is discharged, we work with external providers to ensure they have a care package in place, should they need anything in the community, such as ongoing dementia pathway support or ongoing support for mental health issues.”
Another colleague who is part of the healthcare team told Carole that “Jacqui has a mantra which is ‘think about the man’, and so whilst we may be treating a specific problem we’re constantly communicating, encouraging discussion, building relationships with the prisoners and carrying the Grendon therapeutic culture in all our interactions.”
Carole then shares a powerful testimonial from a prisoner who has had some serious health issues recently and is now in a wheelchair, and who says:
“Jacqui is an absolute wonder, and her caring nature and genuine concern for her patients shines through in all her staff, they are all absolutely exemplary ladies. I’ve recently lost my mobility and am now in a wheelchair and Jacqui has come to see me in lockdown several times, just to check that I’m OK. She knows that this physical problem will have an impact on me mentally and is showing that she genuinely cares about that. I’m sure she’s got enough to worry about dealing with a prison in lockdown, but she never appears to be stressed or in a hurry, she’s just brilliant.”
Carole added another powerful prisoner testimonial, too: “I came here with some very long-term health issues that had really been caused by my drug use and promiscuity. Jacqui helped me face up to this and finally treat my Hepatitis, something I was ashamed of and had been carrying with me for a long time. I now feel like I am ‘clean’ and when Jacqui said to me “Ok, it’s done, you can leave this here now” it really made me feel like I can leave Grendon with a lot of that shame and dark thoughts of my past behind me. I’m so grateful to her, I never expected that a nurse could have that much impact on my life.”
She then quotes Jacqui saying “this is not a job, it’s part of me, I’ll never work anywhere else. I came here as a young nurse and from day one it’s truly epitomised why I wanted to go into the nursing profession. Solving a medical problem is satisfying, but nothing near as satisfying as seeing people change, in a place where they have a safe place to work on that change, and that’s what I see here all the time. To be part of that process is everything to me, I am truly lucky to have walked through the door of this prison all those years ago.”
Carole concludes by calling Jacqui “an exceptional addition to the Grendon team who has put her heart and soul into her job for 25 years and has made an impact on the lives of many.”
Grendon’s Governor Rebecca Hayward concurs, calling Jacqui “a dedicated professional who has stepped up to the role of senior leader without losing her core values and beliefs. I have the opportunity to work closely with Jacqui and her team and note that good quality service delivery with the patient at the centre of things is what I see.”
Rebecca describes working alongside Jacqui as “a really positive experience. Her style is collaborative and her decision making takes into account the context of the operational environment. Her drive to be innovative and to try new ways of working further enhances the experience of the those who need our services.”
Jacqui herself says that she holds “the belief that we all have something to offer and the capacity for change in the right circumstances, and that being able to maintain good physical and mental wellbeing is fundamental to supporting the opportunity to care for one’s self and others within this process.”
She adds that “when faced with a complex patient or, as has been the case over the years, palliative patients, the way that I like to approach healthcare delivery is to test ‘if this patient was in the community what they would be able to access and how can we replicate and improve on the experience within the prison?’” She goes on to generously note that “this is not something that is achieved in isolation… what allows us to achieve progress is the respect and collaboration with prison Governors, prison colleagues and most importantly patients and healthcare staff. I have a team who look for opportunity and am very fortunate to work within an organisation that supports and encourages innovation and change.” Jacqui concludes “My job is to maximise this opportunity to deliver the best healthcare possible. If this is what I have been nominated for I am delighted.” It is – and we are too!
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