A NURSE who ensured her ovarian cancer patients had access to a new drug giving them extra months of life has won a prestigious UK award.

Amy Dugdale, who works for Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, recognised that her patients could access the life-prolonging drug if they underwent genetic screening.

As referrals to genetic centres could take time, she implemented a nurse-led testing service for BRCA genes and was able to inform and counsel patients appropriately.

Her actions changed the disease course for a large number of women under the trust’s care.

Now Amy, a Macmillan gynaecology clinical nurse specialist, has been recognised in the RCNi Nurse Awards.

She won the cancer nursing category, sponsored by Macmillan Cancer Support.

The awards attracted nearly 700 entries.

Amy – who was nominated for the accolade by Sumita Bhuiya, a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust – said she was “flabbergasted” when she learned her name had been put forward.

She added: “To go on to win such a prestigious award is an honour.

“It is a wonderful feeling knowing that something I thought of is having an impact on patient care and that this has been seen by my profession as worthy of recognition.

“It’s my wish to see what I do happening in every hospital in the country.”

Miss Bhuiya praises Amy’s “absolute dedication”.

“We are immensely proud of Amy and what she has done for her patients,” she said.

“I nominated her because of her absolute dedication to getting the best possible treatment for the women in her care. The award could not be more well deserved.”

Karen Roberts, chief nursing officer with Macmillan Cancer Support, also pays tribute.

“Amy showed incredible tenacity and compassion in identifying a patient group that would benefit from life-extending treatment,” she said.

“She extended her role and skills so that patients could be BRCA-tested in a timely manner and access the drugs.

“More importantly, she supported these women throughout, from the initial difficult conversation to consent and counselling following the results.”

RCNi managing director Rachel Armitage said nurses in all areas were increasingly under pressure, but still delivered “exceptional innovation and outstanding, compassionate patient care day in, day out”.

She added: “The RCNi Nurse Awards are a chance to recognise the achievements of nurses like Amy and showcase nursing excellence.

“Our judging panel faced an almost impossible task in selecting a shortlist.”