Published: 26/05/2005, Volume II5, No. 5957 Page 24

As the 20 July deadline for the 2005 HSJ Awards approaches, we ask two of last year's winners how the awards affected them

CHRONIC DISEASE MANAGEMENT

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It is the patients waving newspaper cuttings in the air that really brings home the impact of winning an HSJ Award to those at the Portsdown GP surgery.

'Winning the HSJ award really caught the attention of the local press and was a great source of excitement for everyone involved with the practice, ' says Dr Karen Kyd, a Portsdown GP. 'We built this project up from nothing and now we are nationally recognised for providing a service that dramatically improves patient health. It makes us feel terribly proud.' What is on offer is a one-stop vascular, diabetes and total care clinic with a holistic approach towards patients with co-morbidities. Responsibilities for different aspects of care - observations, health promotion, medication review - are shared amongst the clinical team while receptionists manage the bookings.

Dr Kyd believes the award is a credit to the hard work of everyone involved: 'A lot of people at the practice contribute to this, many of them behind the scenes - such as the staff that actually book appointments - so the benefit has been felt from the bottom to the top.

'It is part of the ethos of the practice to be progressive, but importantly the award has added something to our momentum. More of our healthcare professionals are now taking further education courses in diabetes and we are working towards adapting the model for our patients in respiratory medicine.

'The added confidence that comes from winning the award has complemented this. We are now in a stronger position to offer total diabetes care to those patients discharged from hospital.' Neighbouring practices wanting to develop their own chronic-disease management services have turned to Portsdown for advice. Fellow professionals are invited to sit in on clinics and discuss technical and logistical matters with their counterparts.

'Talking about the clinic helped us get a different perspective and do some fine tuning' adds Dr Kyd. And when other people are taking a close look at your work it really inspires you to stay on top of things. This extra interest has been very positive and very pleasing.'

CLINICAL SERVICE REDESIGN

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Birkenhead and Wallasey primary care trust clinched the award on the strength of the outcomes and patient involvement integral to the Patient Partnerships project at Wallasey Heart Centre.

Trust clinical director Dr Anthony Cummins attended the awards ceremony at London's Park Lane Hilton and phoned a number of his patients shortly after hearing the good news: 'It was important to share as much of the occasion as possible. They could hear all the excitement and were absolutely delighted, ' says Dr Cummins.

'Receiving the award on the patients' behalf - and indeed for everyone involved with the heart centre - was fantastic.' Patients have been contributing to the development of the disease prevention and management project since its inception in October of 2000. GPs with special interests, lifestyle services and nurse/ patient-negotiated risk-reduction targets form its inter-linked components.

Among the principal objectives of the Patient Partnerships programme are improved quality of life, increased coronary heart disease treatments and raised awareness in primary healthcare teams. High-risk minority groups such as Irish and Afro-Caribbean residents are targeted, as are areas with low social indicators.

Achievements of the scheme include virtually non-existent waiting times for referrals to GPs with special interests and a reduction of referrals to secondary care to just 9 per cent.

Seacombe, where social deprivation levels run high, now ranks lower then the national average on scales for heart disease. Patients are now being helped with the early stages of a new atrial fibrillation project.

Local MP Angela Eagle paid a visit to the Wallasey centre and raised its achievements in the Commons.

Dr Cummins says: 'We wanted to enter because we knew we were contributing to genuine improvements in local health. The prestige of the HSJ Awards offered another opportunity for raising awareness of how we were tackling the issues.' 'The awards interview was very thorough and relevant, ' he adds.

'Afterwards I realised that even if we didn't win I could be content that it had been a valuable experience.'