Liverpool wins three innovation awards to improve quality of health care

10 Aug 2017

Three health projects in Liverpool have been selected by the Health Foundation, an independent health care charity, to be part of its £1.5 million innovation programme ‘Innovating for Improvement’.

The sixth round of the Innovating for Improvement programme, announced today, will support 21 health care projects across the UK, including three in Liverpool, to help improve health care delivery and/or the way people manage their own health care in the UK.

The three local health organisations which were successfully awarded the funding include NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The Innovating for Improvement programme will run for 15 months. Each of the three projects in Liverpool will receive up to £75,000 of funding to support delivery, as well as the evaluation of how the innovation improves the quality of health care.

The three Liverpool-based projects set to benefit from the funding will each focus on improving a different area of health care for patients with respiratory health needs in the city.

NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will use this funding to build on the success of Liverpool’s Advice on Prescription in Primary Care project, which was set up in partnership with Liverpool’s Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) to help alleviate poverty, hardship and other common social risk factors that negatively impact on a person’s health. The project will identify new care pathways that would benefit from the scheme, and test it in respiratory services.

Dr Janet Bliss, Clinical Director for Community Services at NHS Liverpool CCG said:

“We are delighted with the news of these three Innovating for Improvement funding awards, each of which will be used to help develop cutting-edge health projects that will directly benefit local patients.

“The Advice on Prescription Project is a ground-breaking scheme which enables all Liverpool GP’s to refer their patients to CAB advisors for help on a range of social issues such as housing, homelessness, job loss and debt.

“Being part of the programme will enable us to continue to build on the successful work already being undertaken through this scheme, with the aim of reducing many of the social risk factors that can negatively impact on people’s health and wellbeing.”

Caryn Matthews, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice South Liverpool, said:

“This new funding will mean we can build on our work tackling the root cause of people’s health problems in Liverpool.

“Over the last 18 months, the Advice on Prescription project we run with the NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group has supported thousands of people across Liverpool with problems they’ve had with debt, their housing or benefits. The project means that local GPs can refer patients who have non-medical problems to our service for practical help - this reduces repeat appointments for GPs and we’ve found that 80% of referred patients say their health and wellbeing improved.

“With the support of the Health Foundation we can now go further and use our data to help the CCG get a better understanding of the factors that cause problems in people’s lives and negatively impact on their respiratory health.”

The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust will use funding from the Health Foundation to improve how heroin smokers access chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) community services across Liverpool and help reduce the time they need to spend in hospital.

A large number of heroin users in Merseyside are at risk of developing and dying from COPD, a lung disease associated with smoking that causes symptoms such as cough and breathlessness.

The innovative project, which is being led by consultant respiratory physician Dr Hassan Burhan, is engaging with patients by working in partnership with drug services, NHS Liverpool CCG, and 2Bio Ltd’s Impact Science Team who provide innovation services to the Trust and have supported the development of this project.

Dr Hassan Burhan, Consultant Respiratory Physician, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust said:

"Heroin users often don’t engage with community services, which can lead to late diagnosis of COPD and missed opportunities to slow how the disease progresses. Up to one in two heroin smokers have COPD, and one in eight admissions with exacerbations of COPD to our Trust are in patients with a history of heroin smoking.

“We are really pleased to have secured this award and look forward to implementing our ideas to improve COPD management and outcomes in this hard to reach group of patients.”

Alder Hey Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will use the funding to help evaluate the effectiveness of their SCORE programme, a new healthcare model that empowers children with asthma to understand their condition, self-manage it and participate in activities. The model involves an initial consultation to set goals and optimise treatments, a peer-group educational intervention, and two blocks of activity.

Dr Ian Sinha, Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital said:

"We are delighted to have received this funding award for this new approach to asthma treatment, which is centered around children and communities. We hope to demonstrate that it is both clinically effective and cost-effective through the programme, and to be able to share this learning more widely.

“More than ever we need to be thinking creatively about new ways of working in health, and each of these innovative projects highlights that Liverpool is a forward thinking city with regards to new models of care.”

Sarah Henderson, Associate Director from the Health Foundation said:

“We are delighted to be supporting three fantastic projects in Liverpool to enhance care for patients in the local area, with a focus on improving respiratory services. We are keen to support innovation at the frontline across all sectors of health and care services, and I am pleased that we will be able to support these ambitious teams to develop and test their ideas over the next year.

“Our aim is to promote the effectiveness and impact of the teams’ innovations and show how they have succeeded in improving the quality of health care, with the intention of these being widely adopted across the UK.”

To find out more about the Innovating for Improvement programme, go to: http://www.health.org.uk/programmes/innovating-improvement 

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