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Teams in Bradford District and Craven are setting the standard for healthcare excellence

An innovative project which reduces the length of stays in hospital and better supports recovery following discharge from hospital has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

The ‘Technology and Relationships Improving Flow’ project, which demonstrates the ‘Act as One’ way of working for the Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, has been shortlisted for the Performance Recovery Award at this year’s HSJ Awards. The awards recognise outstanding contribution to healthcare and are an opportunity to showcase an innovative local project on a national platform.

The project was shortlisted from more than 1,000 entries of which 219 have made the final shortlist. Shortlisting was based on factors such as ambition, outcomes, value, involvement and working together and crucially, how the project might be replicated in other areas.

‘Technology and Relationships Improving Flow’ is part of the local vision for health, care, voluntary and community sector organisations to work together ‘acting as one’ to help people stay ‘happy, healthy at home’.

Bradford District and Craven is often highlighted as one of the leading pioneers in helping people leave hospital sooner, once they are medically fit to do so, following work that has been developed for a number of years. The shortlisted project itself began in March 2020, building on national guidance and existing operations, with a focus on reducing the length of stay in hospital, optimising enablement and recovery for people after discharge and better managing the flow of patients through the health and care system.

By working in a different way, supporting staff to ‘Act as One’, and investing in relationships with the voluntary care sector to expand capacity, the project has made a significant difference to some of the most vulnerable people, including those with mental health challenges and alcohol dependency. New discharge assessment roles have been created which move social workers out of hospital to assess people’s longer-term needs.

The project has also made advancements in local digital infrastructure. This includes using a first of its kind technology – featuring a real time command centre as well as a digital care hub – to help make more informed, ‘system-wide’ decisions around patient care and flow.

A significant part of this flagship partnership approach is the multi-agency support team (MAST) who work across emergency departments and wards to identify patients at all stages of an admission, who would benefit from a mental health, older person’s services or alcohol interventions.

One person supported by MAST said, “I have been abstinent for over 12 weeks now. In this time with the support from MAST and other services I have managed to secure a tenancy on a new property – this will help with my recovery and mental health massively!! With lots of encouragement and support from MAST – I am now attending groups which are helping to occupy my time and I am finding talking to people in similar situations to myself extremely beneficial.”

The Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership has consistently met and exceeded discharge and flow targets, often held up as an exemplar regionally and nationally. Cutting edge technology, innovative practices and strong relationships across partners aligned to a bold vision are the reasons for the sustained and improved performance.

Professor Mel Pickup, chief executive at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and place-based lead for Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership comments, “This really is wonderful news – the fact we’ve been shortlisted for the Performance Recovery Award in the HSJ Awards 2022 will undoubtedly be a huge ‘pat on the back’ for our amazingly hard working and deserving team.

“Our staff always go above and beyond to improve patient outcomes and quality of service and care – and aligning with the HSJ Awards programme really allows us to share our success as well as everything we’ve learnt through implementing our project.

“We hope we might even inspire other colleagues across the UK to pursue and put their ideas and innovations into practice too!”

HSJ editor Alastair McLellan, adds; “On behalf of all my colleagues, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership on being shortlisted as a finalist in the category of Performance Recover All of the applications represent the ‘very best of the NHS’ and often leave our esteemed panel of judges with an impossible choice!

“Year on year the number of entrants continue to rise which I find so encouraging and is testament to the effect that HSJ Awards can have on improved staff culture and morale.

“We’re all very much looking forward to welcoming our finalists to the awards ceremony in November, celebrating their impressive achievements and jointly acknowledging our values of sharing best practice, improving patient outcomes and continuously driving for better service. But we never forget that the award ceremony is not just a celebration within a night, but a platform to recognise the hard work of all our NHS staff, all year round.”

The full list of nominees for the 2022 HSJ awards can be found at alongside details of the Awards partners;

The selected winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at the Battersea Evolution Centre, London on November 17 2022.