Just the tonic

28 January 2020

UCLan physician associate student receives award in honour of renowned Cumbrian medic

A final year physician associate student at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has received a prestigious award in honour of Professor Olu Orugun* who worked at West Cumberland Hospital and passed away in August 2017.

Abigail Ogden, based in Whitehaven, was honoured with the Olu Orugun prize not just for her commitment to her academic studies but for her approach to patients in her care while on clinical placement, in keeping with the characteristics Olu displayed throughout his career. Abigail is also the recipient of the award for the highest academic achiever on the physician associate programme. 

"Olu was an extremely respected consultant who is still missed by his colleagues, I wish Abigail the very best in her onwards career and look forward to welcoming her in our Trust."

At next summer’s UCLan graduation ceremony the final year student will receive a £50 voucher and a certificate as recognition of her outstanding work.

Abigail, who arrived in West Cumbria from Warwickshire, is a great example of Professor Orugan’s philosophy which was to encourage the development of a workforce made up of professionals from a variety of clinical backgrounds, helping to address the issues of recruitment and retention of medical staff in Cumbria.

Commenting on the award Abigail said: "Although I never met him I feel very privileged and honoured to receive the Olu Orugun award. It has been a great experience, and I have loved developing my skills in West Cumberland Hospital where Olu worked.

Abigail Ogden
Abigail Ogden

“Over two years the physician associate programme has taught me a great deal, and I am looking forward to starting practice at the A&E department here in Whitehaven.

The Trust has been incredibly welcoming and being able to study this programme here at the National Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine at UCLan’s Westlakes Campus has been a fantastic opportunity - and I have made friends for life.”

Dr Rod Harpin, Deputy Medical Director for North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, added: “I worked with Olu and came to respect him for his tremendous values including the commitment to his patients.  His strong advocacy for the development of learning opportunities for people in west Cumbria was second to none. He would be very proud of Abigail and the dedication she has shown to her studies and also her patients. Olu was an extremely respected consultant who is still missed by his colleagues, I wish Abigail the very best in her onwards career and look forward to welcoming her in our Trust. On behalf of the Trust I thank her for demonstrating the qualities and values that Olu held so dear.”

The role of physician associate is part of the Composite Workforce Model at West Cumberland Hospital which is made up of clinicians from a variety of clinical backgrounds rather than the traditional medical model which is hard to recruit to. The model also includes advanced clinical practitioners, academic fellows and GP trainees. The model won a national award at the Healthcare People Management Association (HPMA) Excellence awards in June 2017.

*The Olu Orugun award is named in honour of one of the founding fathers of the West Cumberland Medical Education Centre.

Originally from Nigeria, Professor Orugun made his home in West Cumbria and was a much respected and loved consultant at West Cumberland Hospital for 23 years. It was routine for him to go over and above what might have been expected, in order to provide patients with the very high standard of care which they experienced. He was instrumental in helping to set up the activities of UCLan’s Medical School in West Cumbria and in ensuring that all students felt welcomed, valued and received an excellent educational experience.

He provided an inspirational role model for both students and staff.

He was a huge supporter of UCLan and the activities of the medical school and is sadly missed, but his memory and legacy lives on at the National Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine, in many other places, and in the hearts of those around him.