“General Practice Team of the Year” was awarded to Sandwell & West Birmingham CCG for tackling malnutrition, and reducing antibiotics and painkiller prescribing through a collaborative community approach.
Practices in Sandwell & West Birmingham CCG (SWBCCG) are succeeding in reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescribing in the fifth most deprived area of the country.
The SWBCCG team is chaired by a GP lead, and includes an established core membership of three GPs, eight pharmacists, six technicians and a dietician.
“We recognise ourselves as more than just a team. We are a ‘Body’ made up of multi-disciplinary organs with patients representing the heart,” Sandeep Pahal of the medicines quality team said.
GP trainer and prescribing lead for the CCG, Dr Gwyn Harris said: “We’ve made a real difference because we’re there on the ground with our teams. The public have really listened to us and we’ve really listened to them. Between us we’ve made a huge difference.”
The practice team collaborates with wider primary and secondary networks, such as patients, consultants, psychologists, nurses, charities and other community and secondary care providers.
“The project is not a ‘quick fix’ for the short term, but is rather aimed at ingrained sustainability by changing behaviour long term,” Dr Harris said.
The practice group, which has a population of about 600,000 in the fifth most deprived CCG nationally, found that they had a worryingly high prescription rate for antibiotics.
They set out to change prescribing behaviour on mass throughout the organisation using effective and efficient working and limited resources.
Their aim was to reduce the volume of antibiotic prescribing within a year through better management of their antibiotic reserve and more appropriate prescribing.
In order to achieve this they had to address prescribing habits, prescriber education, patient education and engagement with the different demographic populations within the CCG, including migrant groups.
The team identified the highest prescribers of antibiotics within the CCG and targeted those practices for education, facilitated by the GP prescribing lead and consultant microbiologist.
The team reached out to schools, churches, radio, patient groups and care homes in the area to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance. They then educated a “peer champion” from within each organisation to take the lead to ensure the message was conveyed to each community group.
In schools they developed interactive quizzes, games and poster competitions to encourage the students to take the message home with them.
Overall antibiotic prescribing rates within SWBCCG have been reduced by 8.6% over the course of a year; this includes walk-in-centres. The CCG is now below the target of 1,098 antibacterial items/StarPU as set by NHS England. In the cohort who attended the events, there was an average antibacterial prescribing reduction of 9.1% over the course of a year.
The team researched public and GP views on the matter through questionnaires, focus groups, training, and learning needs analysis.
They developed a clinical pathway for GPs and raised awareness among the public by hosting patient educational events, champion programs and summits. Every person whether public or clinical became an Antibiotic Ambassador.
The CCG covers the two very distinct and diverse areas of Sandwell and Birmingham. Therefore it was necessary to use innovative platforms to communicate the message to the public.
The antibiotic ambassador message was broadcast on the BBC Asian Network. The CCG chose this channel because “it caters to all and has an average weekly audience of over 500,000, ranging from many different community groups.”
The CCG worked with their Race & Equality team to cater the education to each respective community group.
The antibiotic reduction plan is not only scalable locally but across geographical boundaries to other CCGS. Bradford, Enfield, Bham Cross City, Bham South Central, and Walsall CCG are all being mentored to follow the replicable model.
The General Practice Awards 2016, held at the Lancaster London Hotel on 24 November, celebrated the diligent work and creative ideas of practice managers and their teams.
The award ceremony was hosted by doctor, campaigner, investigative journalist, and broadcaster, Phil Hammond.
Dr Hammond worked part-time in general practice for over 20 years, and also presented five series of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor on BBC2.
The General Practice Awards were run by Management in Practice’s publisher, Cogora.
This article was first published on 25 November 2016.