16 April 2018

Sheffield Hospitals is a double finalist in national healthcare awards

Fetal MRI scanning service and Seamless Surgery finalists in prestigious Health Service Journal Value Awards

Two innovative services developed by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, which have improved patient care and achieved outstanding value for money, have been named as finalists in a prestigious national health care award scheme.

A highly specialist MRI scanning service, which provides more detailed information about structural abnormalities in an unborn foetus and a woman’s womb, has been shortlisted in the ‘Improving the Value of Diagnostic Services’ category in the Health Service Journal’s Value Awards.

Set up by Dr Elspeth Whitby, an honorary consultant at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, the MRI hub scanning service allows clinicians from across the region to access specialist advice from a central radiologist at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital when a potential problem is detected in the structure of the womb or foetus during pregnancy.

Previously, pregnant women would have had to travel to Sheffield to access the service, but now they are able to have an additional MRI scan at their local hospital. Once the scan is completed, the obstetrician in charge of their care sends the images to Sheffield. The radiologist is then able to report the results back via distant reporting and video links, saving pregnant women a lengthy journey to Sheffield. In some cases this has enabled patients to avoid a six-hour round trip to hospital.

Dr Elspeth Whitby, an honorary consultant and fetal and neonatal radiologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award. The fetal MRI scanning service is a specialist, but highly valuable service, which provides important diagnostic information to pregnant women when a potential problem is detected on an ultrasound scan. In addition, by placing radiology at the centre of a hub and spoke arrangement, we have been able to reduce administrative costs and referral times, and our radiologists are able to report findings back to obstetricians from across the region within two days or more quickly if necessary.”

The Seamless Surgery programme which has led to multiple improvements in the way surgical services are delivered across Sheffield’s adult hospitals has also been shortlisted in the 'Improving the Value of Surgical Services' category.

The Seamless Surgery programme was launched in July 2016 and has resulted in multiple staff-driven improvement projects that are helping more patients undergoing planned surgery at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to receive timely, high quality care.

As a result, staff have worked together to better understand how the different complex processes of surgery impact on patients’ care – from pre-operative assessment to recovery after surgery. This has led to many patient-centred changes including the introduction of a new electronic pre-operative assessment system, which enables patients to complete vital preoperative assessment online on the same day as their outpatient appointment with their surgeon.

Reminder calls are now carried out for many patients due in for surgery, which has helped reduce on the day cancellations by 20%, and a new one stop outpatient service for cataract surgery and a ‘see and treat’ clinic in plastic surgery have also been developed.

Paul Griffiths, Programme Manager for Seamless Surgery programme, said: “Seamless Surgery is a fantastic example of an improvement programme, which has been enthusiastically embraced by hundreds of staff to redesign and rethink the elective surgical pathway, from the decision to operate through to discharge after surgery, to the benefit of thousands of patients.

“As well as helping us treat an additional 1,800 patients since the programme started, we have also seen a reduction in on on-the-day surgical cancellations with patients seeing improvements in the timeliness and quality of their planned surgical care. We are absolutely thrilled to have been shortlisted for this highly regarded accolade.”

The Value in Healthcare Awards are run by the Health Service Journal and seek to recognise and reward outstanding efficiency and improvements by the NHS. This year saw a record number of entries – both in terms of the quantity of entries submitted and the number of teams entering individual categories.

The winners will be announced at a special ceremony in Manchester on 7 June.


Photo: Surgeons operating at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital

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