BMJ Awards 2018 – A winning partnership

South Somerset healthcare partners’ scoop top national award…

Last week, the south Somerset GP Federation and healthcare partners from across south Somerset  received national recognition at this year’s British Medical Journal (BMJ) Awards.  The partnership has been awarded the ‘Primary Care Team of the Year’ award for the innovative and integrated approach taken to re-designing local care services to meet the changing needs of patients in south Somerset.

For more than five years, key local healthcare organisations have worked closely together as part of a shared vision through the Symphony Programme.  Tasked to develop and implement new ways of delivering healthcare services across GP practices, hospitals and community care to help patients to access the care they need; whilst reducing unnecessary admission to hospital.

As part of the Symphony Programme we have successfully introduced new roles such health coaches into 17 GP practices across south Somerset, to provide additional support to both GPs and patients.  Extended healthcare teams have been developed to work alongside doctors and enable patients to access specialist healthcare services in their GP practice, rather than in hospital.

Over the last two years the developing model has enabled health coaches to support over 11,000 patients in south Somerset, helping to proactively support people to take greater control over their health and wellbeing.

In addition, complex care teams were established to provide specialist care for patients with multiple and/or long-term health conditions. In March 2018, new sustainable complex Integrated Care teams were created by developing community hubs at South Petherton, Wincanton and Yeovil. This proactive move brings complex Integrated Care teams together with Somerset Partnership teams, along with direct support from Adult Social Care and voluntary teams.

One of the most prestigious events in the healthcare calendar, the BMJ Awards recognise the best in innovation, patient care, and leadership, with entries received from across the UK’s health and care sectors.

In the ‘Primary Care Team of the Year’ category, judges were impressed by the positive impact shown on developing patients’ skills, knowledge and confidence in self-management; as well as reducing hospital overnight admissions by 7.5%, emergency bed days by 15% and non-elective admissions from nursing homes by 50% in the last year.*

In addition, the team were praised for their focus on relationships, commitment to patient partnerships and strong measurable outcomes.

Programme Chair, Dr Steve Edgar, explained “Winning this award has been fantastic recognition of the collaborative work that has been taking place across south Somerset to develop a sustainable health and care system.  Teams across the partnership have worked incredibly hard together, to design and develop new ways of supporting patient’s healthcare needs that can start to meet the growing challenges of an ageing demographic, more complex long-term health conditions and a national shortage of GPs.

The benefits have not only been experienced by patients and carers, but also GPs like myself; who are now more able to use their time to care for the most complex long-term healthcare needs – helping to manage workloads and sustaining our vital Primary Care network.

 Over the coming months with the support of the Clinical Commission Group, we will continue to develop the roles of our health coaches and complex care teams to build on the care and support for patients that can be offered in local communities, in addition to their doctor.”

Mr Nick Robinson, Chief Officer with Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, added:

“I am delighted South Somerset’s GP Federation, Symphony Healthcare and the local health and social care system have received such well-earned recognition for their innovative and collaborative working. It has led to better and more joined up care being delivered to patients and we expect to see this success to be further built upon into the future.”