Hospital teams rewarded for outstanding performance


Staff at Southampton’s teaching hospitals have been recognised for their outstanding achievements in improving heart failure survival rates and palliative care.

Teams from Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust claimed top honours at the South Central Health and Social Care Awards 2009, which were held at Blenheim Palace.

The heart failure team came out on top in the innovative acute care category, while the palliative care team celebrated success in transforming services.

SUHT’s heart failure survival rates have been spectacular, with the team managing 215 inpatients in nine months with an in-patient mortality rate of 5.1 per cent, far lower than the national average of 16 per cent.

As well as seeing a dramatic reduction in hospital admissions, the new service has also shortened the length of stay for patients.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Peter Cowburn, who led development of the service, said: “Readmissions with heart failure are very common in this challenging patient group, but with close outpatient follow up and support from primary care nurse specialists, we have seen a considerable reduction in the readmission rate.”

The hospital palliative care team's project There's no place like home: discharging dying patients home from the acute hospital was described by the judges as "unique and courageous". 

The catalyst to the project was the team's success in discharging a dying man from the intensive care unit to his home, where he spent four days with his family. 

Dr Carol Davis, lead consultant in palliative medicine, who worked closely with palliative care nurse specialist Sue Haig on developing the new programme, said: "The project has enabled many others who would previously have been regarded as too ill to leave hospital to be discharged and die peacefully at home." 

The awards have an established eight-year history and provide an opportunity to highlight and celebrate innovation and excellence in health and social care. 

The event was attended by 130 NHS staff, social services, and voluntary and independent sector organisations across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Posted on Friday 22 May 2009