BMJ Awards: Spotting sepsis early and HIV testing by vending machine

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Spotting sepsis early to save lives, tackling mental illness and addiction among doctors, and the world’s first vending machine for HIV testing were among winning projects announced at The BMJ Awards 2018. Now in their 10th year, The BMJ Awards are the UK’s premier medical awards programme, recognising and celebrating the inspirational work done by doctors and their teams across the UK.

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS Trust won Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine Team of the Year for helping patients to manage surgical pain through mindfulness and relaxation techniques before surgery. Now a routine part of care at the trust, the scheme may be extended to other surgical specialties.

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Wirral, Merseyside won Cancer Care Team of the Year for providing an alternative treatment option to surgery for patients with rectal cancer. The Papillon technique gives patients greater choice, empowers them in decision making, and is staring to be rolled out across the UK.

Dermatology Team of the Year went to a team based in East Cheshire for an innovative social enterprise dermatology service provided by Vernova. In its first year, Vernova saw over 17,500 patients, with 94% saying they were likely or extremely likely to recommend it to friends and family.

Diagnostic Team of the Year went to St Bartholomew’s Hospital London for their work to improve access to MRI scans for people with a pacemaker or defibrillator. Over two years, the number of such scans increased sixfold.

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust won Education Team of the Year for a programme to teach psychiatric trainees communication skills using actors to simulate patients. Over 500 have been trained so far, leading to increased confidence and improvements to patient safety.

St George’s Hospital London won Clinical Leadership Team of the Year for improving clinical outcomes for patients undergoing aortic aneurysm surgery. The judges said the team demonstrated a rounded approach to quality improvement, through research, innovation, training, and teamwork.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust won Emergency Care Team of the Year for The Hector Project, a training programme to improve care for older people after a fall. The approach has been adopted by other trusts and the judges said this was an innovative programme for a vulnerable and neglected group, developed with patients in mind.

The Practitioner Health Programme won Mental Health Team of the Year for tackling mental illness and addiction among doctors. The service began in London in 2009 and now has access to 200 clinicians and a network of therapists across England, with 75% of patients getting back to work.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust won Innovation Team of the Year for the world’s first vending machine for HIV testing. The judges said the vending machine “reduces stigma, has great interaction design, and has the potential to be used much more widely – a whole new approach to testing.”

North Bristol NHS Trust took home Palliative and Hospice Care Team of the Year improving the quality and consistency of care for patients and their families at the end of life. Improvements included using door stickers depicting a purple butterfly to indicate patients receiving end of life care, so patients are spared pointless interruptions and given the best possible care.

Eaglescliffe Medical Practice on Teeside won Patient Partnership Team of the Year for engaging young people in their own health. Young people from the practice drove the design of a service to book appointments online and access services that are important to them. Plans for a special teen health clinic are also underway.

West of England Academic Health Science Network won Patient Safety Team of the Year for improving the recognition of sepsis in south-west England, which kills about 44,000 people a year, using an early warning score. The region now has the lowest rates for deaths in patients with suspected sepsis in the country, with an estimated 3000 lives saved so far.

South Somerset GP Federation won Primary Care Team of the Year for an ambitious programme to transform primary care in South Somerset. Designed with patients, carers and the local community, they introduced health coaches, complex care teams and regular practice team huddles. The programme has had an impressive impact on patients’ skills, knowledge and confidence.

UK Research Paper of the Year went to Peter Brocklehurst at Birmingham University and colleagues for a trial showing that first time mums having a low dose epidural who lie down rather than sit upright in labour are less likely to need forceps or suction to aid a vaginal birth.

The BMJ Award for Outstanding Contribution to Health went to Wendy Savage, an obstetrician and gynaecologist and staunch advocate of the NHS and women’s rights. Savage started medical training at London Hospital Medical College in 1957. Qualified, she then spent most of the next 15 years working abroad, initially in Boston, then in Nigeria and Kenya.

In 1985 she was the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Suspended from the London Hospital Medical College after allegations of incompetence, she won her job back after a high-profile inquiry found the charges groundless. She also served for many years on the General Medical Council and is president of Keep Our NHS Public, a pressure group that opposes private contractors providing NHS care.

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