Northern Care Alliance scoop two awards for improving patient safety during Covid19 at this year’s HSJ Patient Safety Awards

22 September 2021

Colleagues in the Infection Prevention and Control, Microbiology, Pathology and Haematology departments across the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group have received two prestigious national awards for groundbreaking projects delivered during the pandemic.

The nominations, shortlisted at this year’s HSJ Patient Safety Awards Finals held this week in Manchester, included the successful trialling and implementation of safety measures in Emergency Departments to help protect patients from COVID-19 and the successful delivery of a pioneering new way of administering chemotherapy to patients in their own homes.  

IPC Excellence

The COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Award was received by Dr Joel Paul, Consultant Virologist, and his team at the glittering awards ceremony, following the successful implementation of pioneering safety measures across our emergency departments which were then later adopted nationally, during the second peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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The COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Award was
received by Dr Joel Paul, Consultant Virologist, and his team.

Dr Paul, and colleagues from Infection Prevention & Control, Pathology and Microbiology introduced SD Biosensor COVID-19 lateral flow devices across the Group’s emergency departments in November 2020, successfully helping to detect the Covid status of patients needing to be admitted from A&E.  

The decision improved care for hundreds of patients, enabling staff to move and isolate them safely, as well as improving bed management and patient flow, supporting the NCA’s established infection prevention and control measures and helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Dr Paul explains: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won this prestigious award after what has been a very challenging year, and during which our teams have worked incredibly hard. This project was just one of the tools used by our organisation in addition to many other IPC measures introduced as part of our patient care, safety and experience, which not only ensured early diagnosis, but also ensured that quality and efficiency of COVID-19 diagnostics was not compromised.”

The team presented their initial findings at NHS Public Health England’s National Virology Cell meeting in October and, by late December 2020, the process had been approved and launched for deployment in Emergency Departments across the country.

Libby McManus, Chief Nursing Officer for the Northern Care Alliance, said: “It’s fantastic news that the team’s success in terms of improving patient safety during the pandemic has been recognised. I am enormously proud of them and this particular project was also very well received by our frontline clinical colleagues as a major tool in our fight against COVID-19.”

Chemo at home success 

The Haematology team at The Royal Oldham Hospital, part of the NCA also brought home the Improving Care for Older People Initiative of the Year Award for leading the way with a pioneering self-injection velcade treatment programme, designed to help train cancer patients to administer their own chemotherapy from the comfort of their own home. 

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The Haematology team at The Royal Oldham Hospital brought home
the Improving Care for Older People Initiative of the Year Award.

The Royal Oldham Hospital was one of a handful of hospitals throughout the UK to introduce this exciting initiative for cancer patients in summer 2020, and findings showed that there are a number of benefits for both patients and NHS teams.

Dr Satarupa Choudhuri, Cancer Lead for Haematology at The Royal Oldham, explains: “It’s fantastic news, I’m incredibly proud and so grateful for the contributions of the whole team to this project. We’re lucky to have had the support of the National Cancer Vanguard and Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, who are both keen to support initiatives that help provide treatment closer to patients’ own homes.”

The treatment is aimed at patients with myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer and has brought a number of benefits for the Haematology team too. Less demand for appointments from myeloma patients helping to free up waiting times and appointment slots for other patients to the unit.

Dr Chris Brookes, Interim Chief Executive Officer for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group congratulated both teams on their successes, he said: “What a fantastic accolade these two awards are for our teams and for our organisation. It’s a real testament to the dedication, diligence and expertise of how they’ve successfully delivered these groundbreaking approaches to patient safety. Many patients and their families have benefitted as a result of both of these projects, and I would extend my congratulations to all involved, I am thrilled for you all.”

HSJ Editor Alastair McLellan said: “The projects, teams and individuals this year have been of a remarkable quality and each of the winners of the HSJ Patient Safety Awards have been recognised based on their work to push the boundaries of patient safety and most importantly, save patient lives. We all know and can appreciate what an incredibly difficult period this has been for so many of our colleagues working across the healthcare landscape – and that’s what makes it such an honour to be celebrating projects of such high calibre and significance.”

The winners and those highly commended were announced across 23 categories during the HSJ Patient Safety Awards ceremony held at Manchester Central on the 20th of September.

For more information on the HSJ Patient Safety Awards visit:

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