Dec 232014
Tracey Cooper

Tracey Cooper

What does work to improve care for patients with leg ulcers, a service that listens to the needs of older people in care homes and a special centre to treat alcohol related injuries have in common?

All these innovations, which were developed by healthcare staff and are making a big difference to patient care, were winners in the NHS Wales Awards earlier this year.

And with just over five weeks until the closing date for entries into next year’s Awards, I can’t wait to see the latest creativity being delivered by staff and students across NHS Wales to transform care for patients.

Now in its eighth year, the Awards are open to teams and organisations who have created and implemented new ways of working that has improved the quality and safety of services for patients.

They are organised by the 1000 Lives Improvement service in Public Health Wales and there are eight categories to enter including Promoting Better Health and Avoiding Disease; Improving Patient Safety and Citizens at the Centre of Service Re-Design and Delivery.

What inspires me is the chance to see such excellent demonstrations of the world class care we provide here in Wales.

Over the last seven years, there have been hundreds of examples of good practice shaping the service, benefitting patients and improving outcomes.

It’s heartening to see how much of the work has involved patients to find the best solutions and which includes a real focus on prudent healthcare. Healthcare staff are working with patients to develop services that really meet their needs and that use the right services to achieve the best possible outcome.

And it’s important to remember that all these winning projects continue to evolve and develop well after the Awards ceremony, ensuring more patients benefit and services are further enhanced.

Just look at the Care Home Ask and Chat Volunteer Service in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.

Since winning two NHS Wales Awards in July, the service, which provides a confidential ear to enable older people in care homes talk about their experiences, has gone from strength to strength.

It is now available in all nursing homes within the health board area ensuring that all residents have access to a dedicated volunteer.

The team of retired NHS professionals has recruited a further eight volunteers and the service has been showcased at a number of events including the Wales Audit Office Best Practice seminar and has also been commended to Care and Social Services Inspectorate in the Netherlands!

In Cardiff, the alcohol treatment centre, which won the Working Seamlessly Across Organisations Award, has continued to make a real impact in reducing demand on local emergency services.

The partnership project with Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, Cardiff Council, Vale of Glamorgan Council, South Wales Police and Cardiff Street Pastors, provides additional capacity to help the accident and emergency department at the University Hospital of Wales.

It has now treated over 2000 patients and was designated as the receiving unit for minor injuries during the recent NATO conference held in Newport.

And in Powys work to deliver better care in the community for patients with leg ulcers is continuing to make a big impact in reducing hospital admissions and improving quality of life.

The leg clubs have been recognised by the Older People’s Commissioner Sarah Rochira as ‘an example of great rural health care’ and other health boards in Wales are looking to Powys for guidance in improving leg ulcer care.

These are just a few examples of the excellent work that has been highlighted in the Awards but that is going on every day in our hospitals and communities across Wales.

The 2015 Awards are a chance for us to celebrate all that is good about the NHS and I would encourage all healthcare staff and students to take advantage of this opportunity to showcase the excellent care that they provide by submitting an entry.

Published in Western Mail on Monday 22 December 2014.

Tracey Cooper is Chief Executive of Public Health Wales. You can follow her on Twitter @tcooper321 and find Public Health Wales @PublicHealthW.

Don’t forget to join the conversation and  follow us on Twitter @1000LivesPlus.

The 2015 NHS Wales Awards Finalists have been announced, take a look here.

Watch the NHS Wales Awards 2015 launch video below.

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