Take a look at last year’s winners to help you put together a winning entry

2009 Winner - Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust

Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust’s acute stroke service is founded on rapidly transferring all suspected stroke patients to a specialist centre offering immediate assessment, urgent brain imaging and 24 hour access to clot-busting medication. Thrombolysis is delivered by accident and emergency staff with telephone and interpretation support from radiologists and consultants.

Marked improvements in quality, access to rehabilitation, reduced length of stay and savings of up to £500,000 have all followed the service redesign. The service is in the top 5 per cent of stroke units in England.

As part of a three month public consultation incorporating a review of the draft national stroke strategy guidelines, former patients and relatives visited the new ward to offer advice on the developing facilities, such as a therapy gym and information room. Consultation with the multidisciplinary team supported project prioritisation, short term objectives and developing a new workplace culture. Ambulance, radiology and community staff participated in and agreed with a number of protocol changes.

The launch of an early supported discharge team, able to provide a safe and effective alternative to prolonged hospital care, has seen length of stay on the new unit drop to half that of the national average. Rates of institutionalisation remain low at less than 5 per cent.

The judges were impressed by Northumbria’s approach to project management, strong levels of patient engagement and the use of patient experience in the redesign process.

What judges want

  • Service redesigned around patients and carers - with evidence that service users’ views have been sought, analysed and implemented
  • Evidence based development - has clinical and management evidence been taken into account in redesigning the service?
  • Equity - ensuring the service is available to all qualifying patients within the catchment area
  • Teamwork - evidence that all staff involved in the service have had a voice in the redesign
  • Value for money - has the investment in resources or money shown a demonstrable benefit to outcomes, quality and efficiency?
  • Consideration of how payment by results has been taken into account in the redesigned service

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