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Recognition for Patient Safety

29th June 2021

A magnificent seven Southern Trust projects have been shortlisted from hundreds of entries for this year’s national HSJ Patient Safety Awards.

The awards recognise outstanding contribution to healthcare and drive improvements in culture and quality across the NHS by celebrating the teams putting safety first.

The Dysphagia Support Team has been shortlisted for the Patient Safety Education and Training Award and the Best use of Technology for Patient Safety Award.

Dysphagia is a difficulty with eating, drinking and swallowing which can cause malnutrition, dehydration, chest infection or choking, posing a serious risk to patient safety and quality of life. Early identification and management can prevent hospital admission, reduce length of stay and reduce the chances of further medical complications. There is a key focus on caring for clients with Dysphagia in their place of residence and on building capacity across the wider system for greater awareness and management of the condition.

The team worked with people with dysphagia and staff to develop a ‘Dysphagia Awareness and Training Pilot’ programme for care homes as well as “a first of its kind” remote tele assessment of eating, drinking and swallowing . The programme has greatly improved confidence of participants, ensuring that patients receive the nutrition and hydration they need, whilst reducing risks and improving overall patient experience.

The Acute Care at Home team has been shortlisted in three categories including ‘Patient Safety Team of the Year.’

They were shortlisted in the ‘Improving Care for Older People Initiative of the Year’, for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team adapted and extended their service to seven days, treating 290 COVID-19 patients, many acutely ill, in their own homes, avoiding the upheaval of a hospital admission.

The service was also shortlisted in the ‘Deteriorating Patients and Rapid Response Initiative of the Year’ – for the development of a Virtual Monitoring system for care home patients with COVID-19. The system allows the team to observe patients through a daily virtual ward round and intervene quickly within the care home setting, when there are signs of deterioration.

The Bluestone Mental Health Inpatients team has been shortlisted for ‘Mental Health Initiative of the Year’ for their project – Seven Shades of Culture Change. The team worked with service users and carers to adopt best practice and improve patient safety, in line with the Regional Towards Zero Suicide initiative for mental health services. New policies and practices introduced through the project are showing a positive impact on the Unit.

The Trust’s Day Centre Vaccination Programme is a finalist in the ‘Learning Disabilities Initiative of the Year’ category. With people with learning disability identified as much more vulnerable to Covid-19, a mobile vaccination team was very quickly deployed to day centres across the entire Southern area. The team of nurse vaccinators, pharmacy, infection prevention and control, transport, speech and language therapy worked together, engaging with service users and carers and the day care team to ensure a very successful programme, offering the vaccine to 398 attendees.

Congratulating all the staff involved, Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs for the Southern Trust, Heather Trouton said: “Following one of the toughest years in health and social care, it is a huge testament to our staff for showing such commitment to continually improving their services despite the challenges they have faced. Through collaboration, innovation and forward thinking, these projects are having a really positive impact on quality, safety and overall patient outcomes and experience.”

The full list of finalists for the 2021 HSJ Patient Safety Awards can be found at   Winners will be selected ahead of the ceremony, which will take place as part of the Patient Safety Congress and Awards in Manchester in September 2021.

The seven Trust shortlisted projects are:

  • The Dysphagia Support Team – Patient Safety Education and Training Award
  • Tele-EDS – Dysphagia Pilot Project – Best use of Technology for Patient Safety Award
  • The Acute Care at Home Team – Patient Safety Team of the Year
  • The Acute Care at Home Team – Deteriorating Patients and Rapid Response Initiative of the Year
  • The Acute Care at Home Team – Improving Care for Older People Initiative of the Year
  • Seven Shades of Culture Change – Mental Health Team of the Year
  • Day Centre Vaccination Programme – Learning Disabilities Initiative of the Year