Award-winning innovations in patient-centred care

Two patient-centred, innovative, projects from Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals have been recognised by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in a glittering ceremony held recently.

‘Transforming the A&E Workforce’ and ‘HIV Testing in the Community’ both competed in the coveted Innovation category in the BMJ’s annual awards.

‘HIV Testing in the Community’ took the gold prize against stiff competition.

The HIV Testing in the Community Team“Our mission is to eliminate HIV in a generation,” said Dr Gillian Dean, HIV Consultant at Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) and leader of the world-first initiative which is a partnership between The Martin Fisher Foundation, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, BSUH and the Brighton Sauna. The pilot was funded by the HIV Innovations Grant from Public Health England.

“If we can encourage more people to get tested and then to seek appropriate treatment, we can draw a line under the spread of this disease.

“I’m delighted to have won this award from the British Medical Journal and hope to be able to expand our project in the near future into more Sussex venues.”

‘HIV Testing in the Community’ uses a smart vending machine, piloted in the Brighton Sauna, to dispense free HIV self-testing kits to a traditionally difficult to reach group of individuals. There are around 14,000 men who have sex with men in the Brighton and Hove area, and not all of them are comfortable accessing traditional HIV testing services.

The machine was installed in June 2017 and dispensed an average of 35 test kits a month. This is around eight times more tests completed by outreach workers prior to the pilot.

“The Brighton Sauna team have been fantastically supportive,” says Dr Dean, “and the community have welcomed the pilot scheme with over 95% of users saying that they would recommend this type of treatment to others.

“Early testing is vital in stopping HIV in its tracks – and making testing kits easily and discretely available is a major part of that.”

‘Transforming the A&E Workforce’, led by Dr Rob Galloway, Emergency Medical Consultant at BSUH, was Highly Commended by the BMJ for the patient-care centred approach to revolutionising A&E staffing.The Transforming A&E Team

“Patients told us that they were worried about two things in A&E – long waits to be seen and difficulties in seeing a senior doctor. Our project changed all of that,” said Dr Galloway.

In 2013, BSUH were spending nearly £1million per year on junior locum doctors, had only nine A&E consultants and patient wait times were close to two hours.

Dr Galloway and team created a new staff rota system, creating greater flexibility and allowing staff to choose the shifts they worked to suit their other commitments as long as all the needed clinical shifts were covered.

“Our flexible rota not only ensured that we were always fully staffed,” Dr Galloway explains, “but also helped us to attract more recruits and reduce our turnover substantially.

“For our patients, we were able to drive down A&E waiting times around the clock, and reduce the number of people who had to return to A&E after being discharged.”

The A&E team across the Royal Sussex County Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital is now staffed by 20 consultants, 24 middle grade positions and 22 new non-training clinical fellows. As well as providing substantial benefits to patient care, this new approach has greatly improved educational opportunities throughout A&E.

In fact, the approach helped A&E receive the best feedback within Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and in turn helped the Medical School to receive some of the best feedback in the country for student satisfaction.

Both projects showcase the patient-centred care approach which BSUH teams are taking to finding new, efficient and effective ways to deliver modern healthcare. More information about the BMJ awards 2018 can be seen online.