Health professionals honoured at National Parkinson’s  awards

Health professionals from across the UK have been honoured at the prestigious 2023 Parkinson’s Excellence Network Awards.

The awards, which are held bi-annually, celebrate the achievements of outstanding health and social care services and professionals who support people with Parkinson’s. Hosted by Jane Asher, President of Parkinson’s UK, guest presenters included Mark Mardell and Rory Cellan-Jones, two of the hosts of the popular Movers and Shakers podcast. 

Rowan Wathes (left), Julie Jones, People’s Choice winner (centre) Jane Asher (right) 

Since 2015, the Parkinson’s Excellence Network has been bringing together health and social care professionals to transform care for the Parkinson’s community.  The awards recognise the hard work and ingenuity of outstanding individuals, teams and services that make a difference to people with Parkinson’s, and the people who love and care for them.

This year the award winners and highly commended projects were:

Lifetime Achievement (Honouring a health professional’s distinguished career)  

  • Liz Scott, who worked as a Parkinson’s nurse specialist for 28 years, ran outpatient clinics, advised ward colleagues on Parkinson’s, and worked as a Nurse Advisor for  Parkinson’s UK. 
Liz Scott – Lifetime Achievement Award winner 

People’s Choice (Recognised exceptional support by people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones)  

  • Julie Jones, Chief Scientific Officer and Parkinson’s UK Academic Fellow. Recently promoted Associate Dean for Economic and Community Engagement at Robert Gordon University.  Julie is also co-lead for the Parkinson’s Excellence Network exercise hub, working to raise the profile and quality of physical activity and exercise provision for people with Parkinson’s.
  • Susan Seymour from North Devon District Hospital – Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, who is credited with empowering people with Parkinson’s and encouraging them to feel mor e positive with her physical activity classes and educational sessions.

Excellence Award (Individual, team or service who embodies Parkinson’s excellence and the values of the Parkinson’s Excellence Network)

  • Nick Bryden from NHS Ayrshire & Arran. He has created a system to alert Parkinson’s nurses to their patients’ admission to hospital and the need for time-critical medication who also won an Innovation in practice award.

Innovation in practice

  • Lauren Evans from Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend, who introduced a complex needs clinic for people with Parkinson’s, bringing together all aspects of multidisciplinary care in one place. 
  • Lynne Edwards, Cornwall Foundation, whose project ensured that hospital patients received their medication within 30 minutes of being prescribed. 

Sharing, learning and education

  • Winner of the Sharing, learning and education award, Rimona Weil, University College of London, who co-developed booklets for patients to access support and information on dementia in Parkinson’s, as well as a toolkit designed for healthcare professionals on how to recognise and manage dementia in specialist clinics.
  • Biju Mohamed, Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, who established a dedicated clinic to manage sialorrhoea (excess saliva) and drooling management into Parkinson’s Services with the administering of Botulinum neurotoxin A injection (BoNT A).
  • Sophia Hulbert, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Active Cornwall, whose Connect and Conquer programme included a county-wide training package for activity and exercise providers
  • Sophie Crooks, Queen’s University Belfast, produced a much-needed podcast to educate nursing students on Parkinson’s. She also became a voice for  people with Parkinson’s, as well as their caregivers and nurse specialists.
  • Julie Jones and Aimi McGeough, Robert Gordon University and NHS Tayside, who devised a research based training programme to ensure physiotherapists and exercise professionals are fully trained to deliver physical activity programmes for people with Parkinson’s.
Robert Gouck (Left), Nick Bryden (centre), Jane Asher (Right), Rory Cellan Jones (Far right) 

Community support

  • Maria Lewis, co-founder of Reach Your Peak and 1FitLife, who created UK-wide physical activity projects Get Started – It’s more than just an online exercise!
  • Emma Macher, Bigger and Better – Fighting Back against Parkinson’s, Warwick, whose community support programme promotes exercise as an essential component of condition management.
  • Winner of the Community support award, Beccy Oliver, The Exercise Hub,  a nationwide physical activity framework for people with Parkinson’s and professionals.

Jane Asher, President of Parkinson’s UK said: “The Parkinson’s Excellence Network Awards are always a highlight for me. They are a fantastic opportunity for health professionals to come together and celebrate their contribution to the care of people with Parkinson’s.”

“It is also a privilege and honour to be involved in thanking those who work tirelessly to strive for better care for people with Parkinson’s.”

Applying for the awards was a two-stage process, requiring an abstract submission, an e-poster, and a three-minute video submission. 

Judges, who included a panel of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals, as well as members of the community living with the condition, praised the award entrants for their overwhelming dedication to improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s.

Dr Rowan Wathes, Associate Director of Policy and Health Strategy at Parkinson’s UK, said:

 “We were blown away by the quality of the entries this year. Each time we run these awards the range and quality of applications steps up another level. It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate so many fantastic health and care services, and the staff involved in them, at a time when the NHS and wider services are under so much pressure. 

“As an organisation that champions physical activity for people with Parkinson’s, it is really inspiring and encouraging to see several physical activity initiatives shortlisted this year. We know the importance of staying active for people with Parkinson’s, not only to benefit their physical health but to support their mental wellbeing and help them live well with Parkinson’s. It is an honour and a privilege to shine a light on the exceptional professionals running these initiatives and the brilliant work they’re doing for the Parkinson’s community.”

To find out more about the Parkinson’s Excellence Network Awards or the Parkinson’s Excellence Network, please visit: or follow the Network on X @ParkinsonsEN.