Patient Care Award winners:
Highfields Community Health Centre, Leicester
The Community Health Centre, based in Highfields, Leicester, won the Patient Care Award for their “Health means Wealth” project, in which positive partnerships were formed with the local community to encourage people to take more control of their health and improve their quality of life.
The community within the Highfields area is identified as one of the poorest in England. The “Health means Wealth” project – promoting the message that prioritising health is more valuable than money – focused on reducing health inequalities, increasing awareness of health issues affecting the community and reducing chronic conditions (such as obesity, diabetes and COPD) among patients in this area.
Key to the project, led by the practice’s GPs and Business Development Manager Saiful Choudhury (pictured with award ceremony host Wendy Garcarz), was the determination to engage with the community and demonstrate that the practice was fully committed to their healthcare needs.
For instance, the practice team developed effective partnerships with religious leaders within the Muslim community, and focused on issues such as healthy eating and smoking cessation in the month of Ramadhan, when Muslims traditionally reflect on their lives and make positive behavioural changes. This approach extended to professional partnerships. The practice worked with local pharmacists, encouraging them to adapt their consultation style so that patients were educated opportunistically on health issues.
Highfields Community Health Centre achieved excellent Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) results in the period the project was undertaken, with reduced hospital admission figures and excellent patient feedback and balance scorecard results. These results are against the trends expected by the primary care trust for the black and minority ethnic (BME) community area of Highfields in Leicester.
Receiving the Patient Care Award, Mr Choudhury said: “I want to thank everybody involved with the project. Our GPs worked feverishly in their spare time to make this a success and empowered local patients to become ‘peer educators’, and together they went out into the community and made a big effort to engage with the local people to promote improved healthcare needs.
“By engaging in this way, its really helped to bring everyone together for a common goal, and from a practice point of view, we have also managed to gain the support of other GPs from surrounding areas.” He added that the success of the project demonstrates that primary care “doesn’t have to be just the GP bringing healthcare to the community – I think patients themselves also have a big part to play.”
Design and Facilities Award winners:
Marina Healthcare Centre, Portishead
Marina Healthcare Centre in Portishead was named the winner of the Design and Facilities Award, sponsored by property consultants Clark Weightman. The Portishead medical centre represents a landmark development for NHS North Somerset Primary Care Trust (PCT), being the largest facility built in the area for 20 years.
The new 1,900m2 health centre houses the Harbourside Family Practice in addition to community health services provided by the PCT. This new “centralised” practice has meant improved access, choice and experience for patients.
Prior to completion of the new building, the Harbourside Medical Practice operated out of temporary buildings housed within the local supermarket car park. This impacted not only on the patient’s perception of the practice but also had a negative effect on staff morale and the ability of staff to work efficiently.
The desire for enhanced premises led the practice to a productive collaboration with North Somerset PCT and premises development specialists General Practice Investments Corporations Ltd (GPI). The shareholders had agreed on the urgent need to provide premises that would enhance the practice’s services, reducing unnecessary referrals to hospital and improving local health outcomes with service providers working in collaboration.
Extensive consultation with the PCT, staff and the public led to a final design for a 15,000-patient, six-GP practice with treatment rooms, a minor surgery suite, a pharmacy and additional service space. Since the building opened, on average an additional 100 patients have registered each month. In addition, it has led to improved recruitment and retention, with new staff members commenting that the new facility was a key factor in their decision to apply for a position with the practice.
Above all, the practice has achieved its aim of providing a wider range of community services, improved efficiency in service delivery and improved access to diagnosis and treatment.
Accepting the award, Roger Serginson, Group Development Director of GPI, said: “In late 2006, North Somerset PCT looked to increase service provision and reduce referrals to hospitals from primary care. This proved more efficient and cost-effective, with a projected annual PCT saving of approximately £100,000 and GPI delivering the new centre offering a wide range of patient services.”
The Design and Facilities Award was sponsored by commercial property advisers Clark Weightman: www.healthcareproperty.co.uk
IT Award winner:
Dr Steven Kitchin, Nuneaton
The IT Award, recognising technological innovation in general practice, went to Dr Steven Kitchin, a GP registrar in Nuneaton, for setting up the online resource www.primarycareforms.com – a free central database of patient forms for primary care professionals to access at the click of a button. The innovation was judged to have empowered patients, enhanced clinical consultations and reduced the managerial administrative burden.
This award goes to show that the best ideas do not have to be the most complex. Dr Kitchin describes his concept as “a very simple idea” that began when he was working in a practice in Warwickshire, which had occasional trouble locating the correct consent forms for patient procedures.
“My very straightforward idea was: wouldn’t it be good if every form that any healthcare professional would ever need or want would be available to them within a couple of clicks? They could then print if off, get it signed and save us time. And that’s pretty much what happened.”
Dr Kitchin personally created the database over seven months in his free time. The online database includes a wealth of clinical forms, complaint forms, consent forms, health and safety forms, QOF forms – and many more. In short, as Dr Kitchin says, the tool “provides an invaluable administrative tool for planning and delivering patient healthcare.”
The database was created with an awareness not to duplicate existing services or increase the workload of primary care professionals – instead it was developed to complement the consultation process and practice services available.
In Dr Kitchin’s surgery, the adoption of the tool has led to increased patient satisfaction, reflected by patient satisfaction questionnaires and Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) results. Furthermore, he believes the resource could save practice staff valuable time, reducing administrative costs.
Receiving the IT Award, Dr Kitchin said: “I wasn’t expecting this at all.” He said he was pleased to find that his practical idea had worked well in application. “Getting recognition through this award is exciting,” he added.
Commissioning Award winners:
Liversedge Health Centre, West Yorkshire
The Liversedge Health Centre in Yorkshire was the winner of the “extremely topical” Commissioning Award, in the words of awards ceremony host Wendy Garcarz. At a time when general practice is charged with commissioning health services and will also need to find efficiency savings through improved patient pathways, the team at the Liversedge practice demonstrated how this can be done successfully.
The practice developed and delivered a service model to enhance the care of patients with long-term conditions (LTCs), comprising three parts. First, patients with the highest recurrent admission rates to secondary care were identified by examining secondary uses service (SUS) and primary care data. These patients were given 24-hour, seven-days-a-week access to a dedicated GP known to the patient. The patients in this category were given a card with the doctor’s mobile telephone, which they could call at any time.
Second, a multidisciplinary team approach was developed to enhance LTC management. The team comprises a GP, community matron, nurse practitioner, community pharmacist and a specially commissioned inhouse mental health counsellor. The community matron oversaw home visits to LTC patients so that housebound patients received the same care as mobile patients.
Third, the practice initiated a post-discharge follow-up service for all patients. This process involves providing a telephone call or home visit to review the patient’s admission and medication, and ensures that all secondary care discharges are picked up on and dealt with.
The project began as an initiative to invest freed-up resources into patient care. However, once the practice team realised they could do more to enhance the care and patients’ quality of life, they approached their PCT for funding and raised a business case under practice-based commissioning. In one year the service has delivered savings of more than £155,000.
The benefit to patients has been striking, with a large number of prevented stays, admissions and secondary care follow-ups (in the 24-hour access group alone, 17 patients with a history of 19 long stays in the previous 12 months did not require a stay in hospital after the service was introduced). In a quality survey, 75% of patients described the service as “very good” or “excellent”, with the remaining 25% describing it as “good” – there were no negative results.
Julie Clarke, Practice Manager of the Liversedge Health Centre, said: “I’m very pleased to win this award. We have very forward-thinking doctors. The project has been cost-effective and ensured that our patients have very special care.”
Practice Team of the Year Award winners:
Lindley House Health Centre, Oldham
A new category in 2010, the Practice Team of the Year Award, sponsored by remote access providers Away from my Desk, recognises the multidisciplinary team that has made a positive impact on all aspects of surgery management. The dedicated staff at Lindley House Health Centre in Oldham, part of GTD Primary Care group, demonstrated this superbly, by successfully delivering health services specifically designed for young people.
Starting with the aim to achieve “You’re Welcome” accreditation – the quality criteria launched by the Department of Health in 2005 to make health services young people-friendly – the practice, which opened just over a year ago, engaged directly with the local community, establishing links with local organisations and running advice clinics on topics including body confidence issues, drugs and alcohol, sexual health and emotional wellbeing.
Young people registering with the practice can access contraception and receive sexually transmitted infection testing, pregnancy testing and support.
This was achieved with a remarkable sense of teamwork. The practice team, managed by Maggie Choras (pictured, centre), comprises five GPs, four nurse practitioners, a practice nurse, an assistant health centre manager and five administrative staff.
Each individual contributed to the success of the project. “The project benefited from the engagement of every single staff member, who each have different outlooks, experiences and skill levels,” explains Miss Choras. “Without teamwork, completing the project would not have been possible.”
The team approached local colleges and universities, children centres, sexual health clinics and other institutions supporting young people. “Every member of staff was given some responsibilities and tasks, ranging from ordering appropriate publicity material, organising promotional material and attending open days,” said Miss Choras.
Before establishing the service specification, the practice also listened to the views of local youths so that they could be sure to provide care that matched their requirements. Since the services were introduced, the practice has seen an increasing number of young people attending – “their involvement and engagement in attending the clinics is the real accomplishment,” said Miss Choras.
Receiving the award, she said: “We’re a relatively new practice and a brand new team – but right from the outset we’ve gelled really well. Focusing on this hard-to-reach group has been challenging, but most of all it’s been really good fun, and that’s what’s kept us going!”
The Practice Team of the Year Award was sponsored by remote access solutions providers Away from my Desk:
Practice Manager of the Year Award winner:
Sabina Grzeda, Medway NHS Healthcare Centre
Sabina Grzeda was the worthy winner of the first MiP Practice Manager of the Year Award, which recognises the individual manager who has made an outstanding contribution to general practice and is committed to delivering patient-focused services.
Ms Grzeda successfully led on the implementation of newly procured DMC contracts to the full establishment of five GP-led open access health centres across the Medway Towns in Kent. In doing so, she demonstrated excellence in all aspects of practice management – from contractual arrangements and financial planning to staff support and patient and community involvement.
Ms Grzeda was nominated by her deputy practice manager, Julie Takher, who told Management in Practice: “Sabina constantly thrives for opportunities to improve patients’ care. Her professional approach to patients and practice challenges is recognised by everyone.”
The establishment of the health centres presented certain challenges. Since the practices are also walk-in centres, Ms Grzeda did not have a set template to follow. “We had to manage both registered patients and unregistered patients, so there wasn’t a simple way to copy the structure at other NHS health centres and replicate the way other people are working,” she said. Ms Takher explained: “Sabina was responsible for managing the APMS contracts, which involved a complex set-up of various satellites aross Medway Towns in deprived areas.”
Ms Grzeda was not only responsible for the recruitment of her administrative and clinical practice team, but also ensured training where necessary. “Most administrators had never worked for the NHS before,” said Ms Takher. “Sabina gave training in demographics and the needs of the local population, and how we can provide a good service to patients, eliminating inequalities of access to healthcare.”
Indeed, Ms Grzeda vigorously pursued excellent patient services. She set up a comments book to improve patient service by analysing the entries, advocated the formation of a patient participation group, which meets regularly, and represents the practice on the board of the practice-based commissioning locality group.
“Our ambition was to grow a reputation among patients of a golden service. Sabina set up high standards of patient care and was always present to support us when needed,” said Ms Takher.
Receiving the Practice Manager of the Year Award at the awards ceremony, Ms Grzeda said: “I’m very privileged to be here today, and I’d like to thank Julie for nominating me! It’s a sign of how hard the team works that we’ve achieved 99% of the QOF last year, making us one of the best performing practices in Kent, so I’m really proud.”