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Inclusive Teamwork Award Finalist: HMS Sultan Medical Centre (The Royal Navy)

We are the team from HMS Sultan Medical Centre based in Gosport Hampshire. Our medical centre is situated on a Phase 2 and 3 Training Establishment and is the home of Marine and Air Engineering training within the Royal Navy and wider services. It is ideally located close to the beautiful Solent coastline. In March 2020 we formed the Defence COVID Bedding Down Facility and COVID Assessment Hot Hub for the southern regions.

Within our compact medical centre, we look after a population of approx. 2000 personnel from all 3 services and spread over 5 sites, Institute of Naval Medicine, Fort Blockhouse, Daedalus and Centurion offering all aspects of primary care. Our team consists of our Principal Medical Officer, Deputy Principal Medical Officer, 2 Civilian GPs, 3 Third Year GDMO’s (General Duties Medical Officers), Practice and Deputy Practice Mangers, Physio and Rehabilitation Department with Civilian physios and Military ERI’s, Practice Nurse, Pharmacy Technician, Occupational Health Nurse, Civilian Medical Administration Team and our Military Medical Assistant’s.

Our team was nominated for the Inclusive Teamwork award. We have been highlighted as a team who can demonstrate inclusive working where all team members have a voice and are able to contribute to the successful medical output. We strive to always have team cohesion at HMS Sultan and inclusivity across all members. This has helped us through a very difficult year, not just through a global pandemic, but through new implementation of working practices and Medical Centre changes, as well as acting as a support network for our Military and Civilian staff who have been away from loved ones due to COVID-19 Restrictions.

When we found out that we had been selected as finalists we were all shocked, excited, and humbled by the recognition. As the practice manager, I try and strive to make sure that I promote an inclusive team from the junior members through to the PMO, and I have been extremely lucky to have been supported by an amazing team that have adopted the same teamwork and cohesion ideals as me. Every member of the team has a say in what happens within the medical centre.

All voices were encouraged, and suggestions appreciated. Team members were valued, regardless of gender, civilian or military. Given the difficult condition we’ve all been working through, to hear we’d been nominated gave the whole team a boost having acknowledged how hard the team had been working and then to subsequently hear we became a finalist further lifted the team given the continued pressure we work under, with 2020 being like no other. This was all reiterated by other senior members of the team:

“Women in defence are still a minority, especially as they advance through rates/ranks, even in 2020, So to work with an entirely female senior management team is very rare. Of the senior management team 4 out of 5 also had children with other service personnel, so juggled childcare/deployments/distance, as well as fully time demanding jobs, including a global pandemic, but never lowering the standards.” - Surg Lt Cdr Laura Paterson (DPMO at time of nomination).

From the PMO – Surg Cdr Rachael Booth – she felt ‘really pleased that the team was recognised for their work’

From the DPMO – Surg Lt Cdr Katie Sellens – She felt ‘extremely delighted for the whole team’

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