Forward Healthcare Awards 2021 finalists: five excellent innovations in the community or primary care

The Forward Healthcare Awards 2021, in association with CCube Solutions, give the team here at Leading Healthcare – and our panel of expert judges – the opportunity to recognise all the great work taking place in the world of healthcare. 

The awards week begins on 6 September 2021 and marks the start of five days spent showcasing innovations, ideas, partnerships, pilots and more. We’ll announce the finalists and the winners and celebrate those that took part through a series of features, videos, and digital content. 

As always, we begin our awards season by taking a closer look at our ‘featured finalists’. Next up, we focus on the Community of Primary Care Innovation category.

Quality Trusted Solutions (QTS) – North West London Vaccination Hub Implementation 

Our first entry into this category is a project that has supported the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. QTS launched 12 vaccination hubs across North West London, ranging from larger hospital sites to smaller community sites.  

Pippa Nightingale – Chief Nurse, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, & Vaccination Hub Operational Programme Lead North West London said: “We have worked closely with QTS to deliver high-quality vaccination hubs across North West London. So much has been achieved in a short space of time. QTS have shown resilience, flexibility and provided an outstanding service to our community.” 

QTS started their role in the project in September of 2020 and were faced with a series of challenges in getting the vaccination sites operational. Their timescale was short, with a deadline of January 2021 given as the marker for the start of the vaccination programme.  

From the start, QTS took the view that the hubs may be needed for the long term and took this into account while negotiating leases, all the sites are protected by renewable leases up to a total of 12 months.

QTS used mapping tools to make sure their sites were linked with good access to the public transport system. QTS also provided the ongoing COVID-secure cleaning and site security at the vaccination sites.

The first vaccination hubs set up by QTS opened in December 2020 in Wembley and Willesden.  

Benzodiazepine and Opioid Withdrawal Service ( BOWS) Camden & Islington Mental Health Trust  

Our next entry into this category is from Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust. The service, made up of experienced Non-Medical Prescribers (NMP’s) and a Specialist General Practitioner (GP), has started to address the increasing use of prescribed medication in general practice.

The service was started in 2018 and so far, has treated 400 patients in the local area and is an established part of the Primary Care Network in North London.  

Their entry gives an example of a case study where a man was struggling with alcohol and substance misuse and was receiving fragmented care from his local GP services and struggled to maintain his GP appointments. He was referred to BOWS who provided a care plan and a detailed prescribing method to eventually reduce the need for methadone, diazepam and zopiclone. The man in the case study has now reduced his prescribed medications significantly and regularly attends his GP appointments.  

Malinko – Bringing community services into the 21st century 

Our third entry is from Malinko, and the rollout of an e-scheduling system across NHS organisations, in England and Wales.  

The scheduling system was based on a single idea: “To enable every health and social care provider to deliver outstanding place-based care in every community.”

The new scheduling system complies with the NHS software clinical safety regulations and is made up of three component parts:  

1) Malinko web – the web application is used by the office to schedule and manage the service using live real-time views and data. 

2) Clinical scheduling engine – the engine intelligently and safely assigns caseloads to clinicians and schedules patient care and appointments in an optimal way.  

3) Malinko mobile app – Used by frontline healthcare professionals, the mobile app includes contemporaneous data capture of care contact time (visit durations) and lone worker protection features. 

Ryan Calderbank, Operational Business Manager, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, commented on the tool: “The system enables our community teams to forward plan by using the data in Malinko for future planned visits. The teams can easily identify where the shortfalls are whether by competence or grading. Malinko allows you to look ahead at gaps in relation to capacity and demand which will be the enabler for teams to redeploy staffing according to the shortfall for the requirement. Having the right staff in the right place at the right time.” 

SAFECARE Limited  

Our next entry in the community of primary care innovation category is from SAFECARE limited, and their work to bring together primary and secondary care.  

19 local surgeries based in North Lincolnshire are represented by SAFECARE, and they established a platform where reviews for secondary care referral pathways could be seen by both primary and secondary care services in a move to reduce pressures on NHS services and improve the quality of care provided.  

SAFECARE was deployed to look at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust, and their backlog of secondary care cases. Looking at the cases, GPs were able to flag cases as red (review within 4 weeks) to up to 18 months, and cases could be discharged completely back to general practice, or discharged with advice and guidance, or PIFU – patient initiated follow up. 

After a 6-week period that combed through the cases, more than 6,000 cases were reviewed, 25% of which were discharged. After the first phase, a second phase is now underway to look at the backlog of surgical cases.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board – Transformation of eye care services: Digitised healthcare without boundaries in Primary Care Optometry practices 

Our final entry is from the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and their project that aims to deliver shared Ophthalmic care.

“Open Eyes” is a fully digital EPR Ophthalmic focussed software that is being used to support the digital glaucoma pathway. The service was made available to five high street Optometry practices from June 2020. 

The practices are staffed by practitioners with supporting Glaucoma Certificate qualifications, and they upload the eye images and results to the Open Eyes EPR within the secure NHS network.   

The service was supported by Carl Zeiss, a global imaging company and there are plans to increase the number of optometry practices from 5 to 9. Approval from the Welsh Government on the business case has been secured to roll-out the service across all Ophthalmology Departments and Optometry practices in Wales.