The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has added to the growing list of awards it has won for its innovative work to train, educate and support staff at local care homes.
The Trust picked up two trophies at the first ever Star Awards, organised by Health Education England in the South West, at a ceremony in Taunton on Tuesday 15 March.
The awards celebrate the very best in training and education in the health and social care sector across the South West.
The Trust beat 51 other entrants to win the Education and Training Team of the Year award.
The award recognises those who make a difference to patient safety, care and staff through education and training.
The Trust overcame strong competition from the two other finalists – the palliative care and end of life team at Great Western Hospitals NHS Trust and Prospect Hospice as well as the education team at St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth.
The news got better for the Trust when it was named the winner of the overall Chair’s Award for NHS Values, beating more than 230 entrants including 23 other finalists.
This was awarded by Jane Barrie OBE DL, the independent chair of the South West Local Education Training Board, to highlight an individual or team that has exemplified the values and behaviours in the NHS Constitution and brought them to life in a way that also inspires other staff.
The Trust received a trophy and certificate for each award as well as two £500 bursaries, which will be used for continuing professional development to help improve services for patients in Northern Devon.
Dr Alison Diamond, the Trust’s chief executive, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the team and is testament to the enthusiasm, dedication and innovation the staff continue to display in supporting care homes in Northern Devon.
“We put a lot of focus on education and training across the Trust, as it is key to improving the safety and quality of care for patients, and strive to follow the values and behaviours in the NHS Constitution at all times.
“We will now be highlighted as an area of excellent practice in education and training in the South West and across Health Education England, which is great news and well-deserved recognition for the team.”
Jane Barrie said: “We are delighted with the huge interest there has been in these new awards we have launched to celebrate the great training and development achievements in the South West.
“Effective training and education play a vital role in helping to improve patient safety and the experience people have when they visit their doctors or are treated in hospital.
“The judging has been extremely difficult with many outstanding nominations to examine.
“This demonstrates the importance people put on training and education in the health and care sectors across the South West.”
The care homes team is led by Tracey Morrish and consists of three nurse educators, one occupational therapist educator and a safeguarding nurse.
They provide free education, training and support to around 70 independent providers to improve the safety and quality of care for residents and enhance collaborative working between organisations.
The team has helped to improve patient experience and health outcomes for residents at nursing and residential care homes since it was set up in 2012.
Among other things, the number of emergency admissions to hospital from care homes has decreased, the amount of safeguarding investigations has fallen significantly and staff’s knowledge of various conditions has increased markedly following training.
The team won the partnership excellence category at the annual Guardian Public Services Awards in 2013.
At that time the team earned praise from the Care Quality Commission and Sir David Nicholson, the then chief executive of NHS England, who suggested its work should be replicated across the country.
Last year the team held an exhibition and poster presentation at the West of England Academic Health Science Network’s annual conference at Cheltenham Racecourse, winning an award in the People Working Together category.
The team was shortlisted for the Patient Safety Awards, led by the Health Service Journal and Nursing Times, and promoted its work at the Queen’s Nursing Institute’s annual Healthcare at Home Conference at the Royal College of General Practitioners in London.
Sarah Winfield-Davies, safeguarding adult nurse and nurse educator, was awarded the title of Queen’s Nurse for her work within the team.
Sarah had an article published in Independent Nurse magazine (http://www.independentnurse.co.uk/professional-article/caring-for-care-homes/111411/) as well as a letter in the latest edition of the Journal of Wound Care.
Meanwhile, the team has been selected to hold a poster presentation about its joint work with care homes at two major events this year.
Staff have been invited to the Older People’s Forum and Joint Conference at Holiday Inn Birmingham City on Thursday 14 April, led by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and British Geriatrics Society (BGS).
They have also been invited to the RCN International Centenary Conference at the QEII Centre in London in November.