Joint team award nomination

A joint team from University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) and Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust (SSOTP) have been nominated for a national award. The team behind the High Intensity Users Project is a pilot scheme designed to help patients who are admitted into hospital on multiple occasions and have stays of over 40 days. The scheme, which is shortlisted in the Community Health Service Redesign HSJ Value in healthcare awards category, helps identify patients who would benefit from additional support.

Dr John Oxtoby, UHNM Medical Director, said: "At UHNM there is a cohort of over 700 patients who were admitted three or more over a year with a total stay of 40 or more days. These patients use the equivalent of 130 beds, or five full wards, at any given point in time and in most instances this isn't the best place for the patient. It also means that other patients can have a long wait for a bed or elective patients have their operation cancelled. The project is therefore helping all of our patients and I'm delighted it is getting the recognition it deserves."

Nichola Humphreys, SSOTP project lead, said: "A project team from UHNM and SSOTP intervened in a group of these patients using a collaborative approach of coordinating intensive medical, nursing, therapy and social care input, which is sustained via a collaborative care plan. We have identified a subset of 50 patients from 26 GP practices to give us a workable group for the purposes of the pilot. We're now working with these patients to help them avoid being admitted into hospital or to have an early discharge if they do need to be admitted."

By helping just these 50 patients spend 20% less time in hospital, it would free up an entire ward for two weeks and save the NHS £200,000.

Robert Bryan, UHNM Trust Head of Allied Health Professions, said: "None of these patients want to be admitted but many of them have previously had no other choice. Not only was this not the best place for their care, but some of them were using acute hospital resources of in excess of £20,000 a year by staying in hospital. By reducing the unnecessary usage of hospital beds by this group of patients we can free up valuable hospital beds for other patients. The feedback from clinicians, patients and relatives has already been really positive."