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The MiP Awards 2008 – it’s the final countdown

5 September 2008

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The Management in Practice Awards 2008 were designed to recognise excellence and innovation in the primary care setting. We invited applications from individual practice managers, teams of primary care healthcare administrative staff or those working with them, who had undertaken projects to improve their practice, the care experience of their patients and the working practices of all staff.

Judging the entrants for the MiP Awards has proven very difficult, but also very inspiring. Barbara Stuttle, National Clinical Lead for Nursing at NHS Connecting for Health, who was judging the “Innovative Use of Technology Award”, was so impressed with the entrants that she is already planning to visit one of the projects on behalf of Connecting for Health.

We would like to thank everyone who entered the Awards – the work you have done and are doing was truly inspiring. We don’t have too much longer to wait for the winners to be announced, but in the meantime, here are some examples of those projects that made the shortlists.

Combining art and design in Upton
The “Design and Facilities Award” aimed to recognise the most innovative new build or renovation of a primary care surgery. We had many entrants in this category, and one that caught our judges’ imagination was the Upton Surgery in Worcestershire.

The surgery provides services for 10,500 patients in the market town of Upton upon Severn and 48 surrounding villages and hamlets.

The previous doctor’s surgery site was founded in 1876 and the site was rebuilt in 1967, but after having had 10 extensions it was obvious that the surgery was inadequate in size and parking for general practice in the 21st century. Redevelopment was the only option.

Development began in 1999 and the surgery was finally opened in October 2007. The new buildings are made of modern materials but so as not to impinge unduly on the surrounding rural landscape, adopt rural building themes with many internal and external features, such as cladding, that is usually found in agricultural buildings such as barns.

Wood is a predominant feature throughout the internal spaces, with particular mention going to the curved design of the reception desk in English light oak.

However, it was not just the architectural design of Upton Surgery that attracted our judges to this project. The surgery has also incorporated many artworks into the premises to improve the “quality” of the practice environment with the intention of reducing stress levels and improving the nature of the interaction with patients. The arts project at Upton Surgery had four main objectives:

  • To create a less stressful environment for patients and staff and all users of the building.
  • To bring a collection of modern art to a rural healthcare setting.
  • To enrich the daily working environment for staff and patients by creating better working and waiting conditions.
  • To improve clinical and therapeutic outcomes.

The partners commissioned art to enhance the architecture, the surrounding town and country and to bring modern art to the market town of Upton upon Severn in a space frequented by large numbers of the public of all ages who come to use the surgery services.

In the waiting room there are two spectacular stained glass window panels featuring local scenes. Designed by artists Ben and Noel Sinclair, and paid for by donations from patients and the GP partners, the effect is magnificent with the sun streaming through in the morning into the waiting area and reflecting against the walls and carpets.

There are also 10 commissions from the “Paintings in Hospitals” charity scheme on display. This loan scheme helps many millions of people in healthcare settings each year by bringing colour, interest and warmth into the healthcare environment and relief to those in need. Upton Surgery is one of very few GP practices to participate and the collection brings a combination of modern and traditional art which hopefully brings welcome relief from anxiety and stress for those receiving care and those who work in the surgery.

The surgery also responds to local artistic interests having a permanent display facility for local art groups.

The surgery is now more than a purpose-built, architecturally designed modern surgery. Its design and layout has been contributed to by the users and it has an added local distinctiveness with a sense of place and community. The whole team is rightfully proud of the artistic displays and the variety of colours, light and images with a level of detail and texture to support human emotions and achieve a unique environment.

Wiring up on the Wirral
In another part of the country a new and exciting service is helping people live independently at home. Wirral Council, in partnership with Wirral PCT, Wirral Partnership Homes and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, has developed the service which has been shortlisted for the “Innovative Use of Technology Award”.

Using a preventive technology grant, given to all councils with social services responsibility, a service has been developed to provide telecare and telemedicine to support people in their homes. The key objectives of the project were to enable people to stay at home, prevent falls and accidents, support timely hospital discharge, prevent hospital admission and support carers.

By installing a range of smart sensors and detectors users are connected by a telephone line to a monitoring centre via a lifeline base unit. The monitoring centre operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so help is always available.

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The aims of the project were achieved by redesigning services, using a range of partners across the health, housing and social care community, and also bringing in partners from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. A total of 150 assessors have been trained across Wirral Hospital Trust, Wirral PCT, and the Department of Adult Social Services, including social workers, POPIN staff, hospital occupational therapists, community occupational therapists and community fire safety staff, to assess for telecare. In addition, community matrons were given full training on the commissioning of telemedicine.

The project has proved a huge success, preventing admission into secondary care for a number of patients and saving the trust and PCT a considerable sum. In fact, one particular patient who had spent two years in a residential home was enabled to return home and live safely and securely with the aid of this technology.

The initial aim was to support 504 people with assistive technology by April 2008. However, this figure has increased and currently 584 people are benefiting from the service.

These are just two examples of projects that have been shortlisted for the 2008 Awards. If you feel inspired by these, and think that a project that you are involved in is worthy of an award, then keep an eye out for details of the 2009 MiP Awards at

A word from our sponsors
The 2008 MiP Awards would never have been possible if it hadn’t been for the support of our sponsors. Here is a reminder of who those partners are:

AMSPAR (the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists) has sponsored the Innovation in Training Award. This award seeks to reward creative use of existing training and innovative new schemes.

AMSPAR is a registered, nationally recognised awarding body and membership organisation. It provides nonclinical qualifications included within the National Qualifications Framework for medical administrative and management personnel.

AMSPAR aims to promote quality and coherence in the delivery of qualifications, and encourage and support standards of excellence in the pursuit of continuous professional development and lifelong learning.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has sponsored the Practice Finance Award. This award seeks to recognise the practice that is working with innovation and flair to open up revenue streams for the business.

The RBS can help you purchase an established practice, start up a new practice, buy into a partnership or simply make the most of your business banking.

The RBS provides a network of dedicated, specialist healthcare managers whose job it is to get to know you and your practice requirements inside out. These specialist healthcare managers are available nationwide. Their sector-specific training and experience enables them to build tailored packages. And as they typically remain in their roles for at least three years, practices receive continuity of support when they require it.

Once an account is up and running, a dedicated healthcare relationship manager will ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the account.

The RBS can offer your practice a wide range of products for every stage of development:

  • Up to 100% finance.
  • Finance for purchase of equipment and refurbishment.
  • Competitive interest rates and charges.
  • Specialist services, such as mentors who provide advice on Health and Safety and employment law.

For further information, please visit

Wesleyan Medical Sickness
Wesleyan Medical Sickness has sponsored the Practice of the Year Award, which seeks to recognise the practice team that has had the biggest positive impact on all aspects of surgery management, from patient care delivery and systems implementation, to staff motivation and budget management.

Wesleyan Assurance Society was first established in 1841 and still retains its mutual status today. In 1884 it began serving the needs of medical professionals and continue to do this today through Wesleyan Medical Sickness.

The company offers a range of products tailored to the needs of today’s busy GP practice. This includes surgery insurance, locum cover, key person insurance, partnership protection and commercial mortgages.

For further information, please visit

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