ORGANISATION: St John's Hospice
AWARD(S): Lifetime Achievement
“It is amazing how someone who was once just a stranger can suddenly mean the world to us,” say one couple of their nine-year relationship with Suzy as service users.
Suzy, who retired in March 2016, spent three times that long as a practising social worker. The last 23 years were spent in one place – St John’s Hospice – where she made a huge impact on the lives of many people as a specialist palliative care social worker.
Her reputation there stems from her unfailing ability to make time for others, and from her tenacious advocacy for patients and their families. One notable achievement was setting up a group service for terminally ill women from BME backgrounds.
But Suzy’s name is recognised far beyond St John’s – she’s renowned internationally as a researcher, writer and educator. She took an active role in the Association of Palliative Care Social workers, and has shaped policy and provision by presenting recommendations to Parliament, speaking at conferences and writing numerous papers and books.
Throughout her career this work – which the judges hailed as offering a “huge contribution” – has been shaped by her own active practice, carving her a distinctive niche in her area of social work.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Suzy is an inspiration. It’s clear that she is always focused on her patients and if you were with her she would never make you feel like you were rushing her. She is a combination of teacher, educator and team leader.
Maureen Roscoe-Goulson, Team Leader of the Year, Children’s Services Award Winner 2015
Suzy is clearly very active. Unbelievably so. There is evidence of great impact at times of acute crisis that we forget social work is involved in. There is a sincerity about what she does and a real empathy. A very dedicated person with a huge amount of skill.
Andrew Ellery, AE Social Care and Education Ltd
We have known Ms Croft for 9 years and it was absolutely amazing dealing with her. She is the most wonderful, amazing and conscientious person. And she was always so willing to help. She has a caring and warm presence. It is amazing how someone who was once just a stranger, can suddenly mean the world to us.
Service user feedback
Suzy is quite simply one of life's refreshing 'can do' people. In the five years I worked with her, she was approachable at all times and miraculously, it seemed, fitted in the countless demands of all the patients she saw (and their relatives and carers too). It always felt like nothing was too much to ask our wise, capable, highly skilled and super-efficient Suzy.
Senior Occupational Therapist, St John’s Hospice
Julie Hughes, London Borough of Barnet
SILVER AWARD WINNER
Louise Purser, Central Bedfordshire Council