Fylde coast health innovation scheme wins national award

Three people standing next to a hospital sign

Shaun Bucknill, head of ICT; Veronica Southern and Steven Bloor, Chief Information Officer from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust  

An innovative project designed to make the most of video technology in the treatment of patients has been praised in a national NHS awards scheme.

The scheme, which sees patients treated remotely through the use of a high quality videolink has been Highly Commended in rehabilitation section of this year’s NHS Challenge Prize awards.

The scheme has already proved successful across the Fylde coast with speech and language therapists from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust liaising successfully with patients in local nursing homes who have difficulty swallowing…

Veronica Southern, Clinical Lead in Telesolution for the Trust, said: “In Blackpool, we have innovated in clinical practice using video and developed Teleswallowing (remote access to dysphagic patients) to address a significant challenge in reaching patients within nursing homes, and reduce costs.

“The technology enhances patient care and means there is no need for a personal visit. The use of video provides faster assessment and has prevented deterioration which may have necessitated a hospital admission.

“It has proven to be a valuable method of service delivery by clinicians, patients and care staff. Removing the travel time meant three patients could be seen remotely as fast one home visit.

“There is growing interest from a range of health professionals around the country to adopt this approach and we believe this technology could be used far more than it is at the moment. The technology is there and we have shown it can work.

“In the workplace of the future, healthcare professionals will still want to do the best job possible in the most efficient and cost-effective manner but the tools used will change dramatically due to technology advances.

“It is important to understand and utilise technology in healthcare as it will revolutionise service delivery and create tremendous opportunities.’’

She added: “It is a huge privilege for myself and the excellent IT development team here at the Trust to be honoured with this NHS Innovation award. This is an exciting opportunity to help shape a new and brighter landscape for patients.’’

The judges said: “The panel members were impressed with the innovative work of the scheme and has made an award of £5,000 and asked the Trust to work closely with the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network (NWC AHSN) to further develop the business plan.’’

The NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes exist to encourage, recognise and reward these frontline ideas, and support innovators in getting them embedded across the NHS.

This £240,000 in prize money was awarded across the challenges with tailored professional mentoring and developmental support packages also provided.

Professor Tony Young, National Clinical Director for Innovation at NHS England, said: “Once again, the NHS Innovation Challenge Prize has shown us that there is really fantastic work going on throughout the NHS in England, with innovations not only making a direct difference to individual patients, but also creating a knock-on effect throughout their local health economies that makes other services work better too.

“There is real breadth to the types of prizewinning projects and schemes, demonstrating that embracing innovation can lead to great results in almost every area of NHS work. It was a great pleasure to be a member of the judging panel, where I could learn about the projects that are happening right now, and help to make sure they are developed to their full potential in partnership with world-leading commercial partners and with NHS England.”

Full details of the programme, including previous winners, are available on the Innovation Challenge Prizes website












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