St. George's Children's Doctor Wins Prestigious Award

Prince Harry attends ceremony at which Dr Richard Chavasse was honoured

Dr Richard Chavasse (left) with Prince Harry
Dr Richard Chavasse (left) with Prince Harry (right)

September 14, 2023

A doctor at St. George’s Hospital has been given national award for exceptional contribution to treating seriously ill children.

Dr Richard Chavasse, who has been a Paediatric Respiratory Consultant at St George’s Hospital since 2010, has been named as winner of the doctor category at the prestigious WellChild Awards, having been nominated by colleagues and families of his patients.

He was picked from hundreds of nominations across the UK to win the national accolade at an awards ceremony last Thursday night (7 September) attended by WellChild Patron Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex.

Colleagues and families of children in his care described him as an “outstanding doctor” and colleague who “works relentlessly” to provide the best possible care for children needing long-term ventilation and support with respiratory problems. Dr Chavasse works within St George’s children’s services which sees more than 130,000 visits from children every year.

Dr Luci Etheridge, Site Chief Medical Officer at St George’s Hospital, said, “Having worked clinically with Dr Chavasse for over 10 years, I am delighted that he has been recognised with this award. His passion for his patient group and his pioneering work is an inspiration, particularly in launching our St George’s school emergency asthma bag scheme across Wandsworth and Merton. Congratulations Richard, and well deserved.”

The emergency asthma bag scheme at St George’s Hospital, where children’s services are rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission, is just one of Dr Chavasse’s innovations. In his role as lead for Long Term Ventilation for children with severe respiratory illness, his colleagues say he has always gone the extra mile, such as dropping equipment to a family who had challenges coming into hospital and undertaking medical reviews at home in his own time.

Dr Richard Chavasse receives his award

The respiratory service has grown under his leadership to care for children with complex respiratory needs, including children being treated for severe asthma, complications of cancer, and the impact of premature birth. In his spare time, he has also raised more than £10,000 for charities to support children’s health charities.

He was also praised for his “kindness”, “empathy” and “determination to listen to children and make them feel important and valued” in nominations.

Sophie Jones, mother of five-year-old Bran who is one of Dr Chavasse’s patients, said, “Bran often gets talked over and about, and many professionals never ask him for his view or opinion. In contrast, Dr Chavasse ensures that my son is given a voice and choices. This has meant he is both physically and emotionally better off as he is more cooperative with treatment for his respiratory problems and feels important and valued”.

Dr Chavasse said: “I feel honoured to be recognised by WellChild for this award, particularly as the nomination was supported by so many colleagues and families of our patients. I hope it reflects the great teamwork and care we try to provide for children with all types of respiratory illness in the hope that this minimises the impact on their lives”.

WellChild Chief Executive, Matt James said, “The number of children and young people in the UK living with long-term, complex medical needs is growing. The WellChild Awards 2023, in association with GSK, will be a unique opportunity to recognise the immense challenges they have faced and to celebrate their remarkable positivity, resilience and spirit, which is an inspiration to us all. It will also help us to shine a light on the dedication of those around them, from siblings and parent carers, to the professionals who have gone above and beyond to give them the very best chance to thrive in life.”

An upcoming NHS England consultation into where children’s cancer services should be located in the future means that St George’s could lose the service it has jointly run with the Royal Marsden Hospital for more than 25 years.

You can share your view on the consultation and can find out more about the proposals here.

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