Hospital trust wins national award for pedal power project

GICU HSJ award

Critical care staff at Southampton’s teaching hospitals have received a prestigious national award for helping seriously ill and injured patients pedal their way back to fitness.

All patients in the general intensive care unit at Southampton General Hospital are now screened on admission and, if suitable, are placed on an early exercise programme using an innovative bedside bicycle once their conditions have stabilised.

The project – which was the first in the UK at the time of its launch three years ago – was named winner of the value and improvement in clinical support services category at the Health Service Journal Value in Healthcare Awards 2014.

It is led by a team of physiotherapists who mobilise patients early on and help them use a hi-tech gadget, known as a cycle ergometer, despite often being on complex organ support at the same time.

In its first year, the team treated 97 patients and saw the average length of stay on intensive care reduced by two days, along with feedback of improved confidence levels among all patients and a desire to continue the programme after discharge.

In addition, the recruitment of more physiotherapists enabled the team to extend the service from five to seven days a week and has led to a yearly cost saving of up to £230,000 a year.

Dr Dominic Richardson, a consultant in critical care at Southampton General Hospital, said: “I am delighted for all the clinicians involved in this project that it has received national recognition and attention and, as a result, could now go on to benefit many more patients across the country.”

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust was also shortlisted in three other categories – telehealth, pathology services and training and development – and, in July, made the shortlist of the HSJ-backed Patient Safety and Care Awards for work to reduce avoidable hospital-acquired blood clots (venous thromboembolism).

Dr Michael Marsh, medical director at UHS, said: “It is testament to the quality, dedication and commitment of our many staff, teams and departments that so many of their achievements have been recognised and shared on a national level.”

Posted on Wednesday 1 October 2014