Paul Sutton, consultant colorectal and peritoneal surgeon and Rachel Connolly, clinical nurse specialist

Paul Sutton and Rachel Connolly are the joint winners of The Christie’s You Made a Difference Award for October 2023. The following comments were made about Paul and Rachel in the October nominations.

Judges picked them out as very deserving winners and said that the comments made about them showed how they represent The Christie values and behaviours.

“I am writing on behalf of my husband Alan, our 2 daughters and myself. My husband has been under the care of Paul Sutton and Rachel Connolly since he was referred in November 2022. He started to feel unwell in September and until we met these amazing people, I can only say that he did not have the best journey.

“Once he was diagnosed and referred, we have had the complete dedication from Mr Sutton, Rachel, and staff in looking after Alan and getting him through the major operation which has actually saved his life. Mr Sutton has demonstrated an interest in Alan, visiting him straight after his operation when he was still on the critical care unit and at numerous times when he was on the ward despite having other commitments. He has recently delivered the news that the cancer has gone, and the future is looking positive.

“Rachel has also been there to support and guide us throughout the entire time. The pride and dedication these 2 people have demonstrated will never be forgotten and we will be eternally grateful. They are a credit to the profession! I am sure that you must read comments like this every day, The Christie has an unbelievable reputation. However, we felt that it was necessary to share our gratitude with you. Thank you once again for providing the care, treatment, attention, and aftercare for Alan – what a difference you have made during the last 12 months.

Joy Traynor, patient relative

“[Paul] has introduced new surgical techniques to enhance the advanced and recurrent rectal cancer service in GM. He enthusiastically engages with regional, national, and international groups undertaking complex pelvic surgery, and is recognised as an ambassador for The Christie in this field.

“In addition to his clinical service, he has committed to training surgical skills at the Simulation centre at the University of Manchester and developing undergraduate and postgraduate courses. He gained a master’s degree in medical education from the University of Dundee.

“Earlier this year, he was appointed as editor of the British journal of Surgery and elected a committee member of the Association of Coloproctology.

“Aside from his professional activities, Paul has 2 young children but escapes from them whenever possible to act as a medical officer at music festivals including Glastonbury.”

  - Professor Sarah T O’Dwyer, professor of surgery and consultant surgeon

“Rachel is a Colorectal and Peritoneal Oncology clinical nurse specialist. She joined the Trust in 2012 as a staff nurse on ward 10 and was successfully appointed to a CNS role in August 2016. Rachel went from strength to strength in her role, providing outstanding patient care and support and worked hard in assisting to develop the service. Rachel was successful in her promotion to a band 7 a few years ago. She is an integral part of the CPOC team, and we and her patients would be lost without her.

“Rachel is conscientious, hardworking and her patients are the centre of everything. She deals with the most challenging of situations calmly and always goes above and beyond for her patients, so their journey is made easier. It is no surprise she has been nominated for the YMAD award.

“Rachel married her husband Patrick earlier this year in Mauritius. They have 2 dogs, Stevie and Ralph, who are her world. She loves to travel, is a real foodie and enjoys crocheting teddies for her loved ones’ children. Her most recent hobby is tending to an allotment with her dad.”

  - Rebecca Halstead, nurse specialist and manager

Has a staff member, team or volunteer at The Christie gone above and beyond in their work? You can nominate them for the monthly You Made a Difference Award.