West Midlands urgent and emergency care service shortlisted as a finalist for the HSJ Value Awards 2020

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An initiative to integrate urgent and emergency care across the West Midlands has been shortlisted for a national award, it was revealed today (Tuesday 3 March).

The West Midlands Integrated Urgent & Emergency Care Service has been shortlisted in the ‘System or Commissioner Led Service Redesign Initiative’ category at the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value Awards 2020.

The award celebrates positive changes in the way patients and service users receive care and recognises organisations’ outstanding dedication to making things better in the NHS.

The service model is the first fully-integrated urgent and emergency care service (IUEC) in England and commenced in 2019.

Covering a population of 6 million people across the West Midlands region, it offers a service that responds consistently to callers to 111 and 999 – incorporating the previously separate elements of 999 emergency ambulance, NHS 111 and elements of Primary Care Out of Hours services.

The change is expected to improve patient care, with more patients being provided with care over the phone by a team including GPs, advanced nurse practitioners, pharmacists and mental health specialists and ensure that fewer people are sent ambulances or told to go to A&E and that people are cared for in the most appropriate place for their needs.

Rachael Ellis, Director for Integrated Urgent and Emergency Care, West Midlands Region, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this award and to be recognised for the truly collaborative efforts and dedication of commissioners, the West Midlands Ambulance Service and other provider teams across the West Midlands area.

“Our move to fully integrate 111 and 999 service – run by West Midlands Ambulance Service – with local system out of hours services is a national first, and we are very proud of what we have achieved so far and excited about the future.

“With this service in place, it doesn’t matter whether patients dial 111 for urgent care or 999 for emergency care: they will all receive the same quality of care with their calls answered quickly, and with consistent and appropriate assessment and advice when needed.

“By working together as one system to provide this service, we will make accessing NHS services and receiving appropriate care as easy as possible for patients.”

Anthony Marsh, Chief Executive Officer of West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: "I am immensely proud of what we have achieved since taking over the 111 provision in the West Midlands. We continue to strengthen our staffing numbers within 111 with recruitment of call assessors as well as paramedics, nurses, pharmacists, GPs and mental health nurses to further bolster capacity and take the service to the next level. Our call assessors are being dual-trained to answer both 111 and 999 calls which provides the service with further resilience and paves the way for the future of being fully integrated. Our main focus is to make accessing NHS services easier for patients. We recognise that sometimes patients have been unsure which service to ring – 111 or 999. Once we integrate the services it won’t matter – we will be able to deal with patients’ concerns or queries whichever number they call. The Trust’s Integrated Urgent Care team continues to maintain a very high standard of call answering performance despite huge increases in calls and I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to staff for their incredible hard work, resilience and continued efforts.”

HSJ editor Alastair McLellan comments: “We would like to congratulate Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs with West Midlands Ambulance Service on being nominated in the category of System or Commissioner Led Service Redesign Initiative ahead of HSJ Value Awards 2020. We are looking forward to welcoming them to the ceremony in May, to join us in recognising the very best NHS teams and projects in the healthcare sector. This year’s finalists are of an outstanding calibre and all of them are exceptionally dedicated to enhancing healthcare across the UK.”

The judging panel comprised a diverse range of highly regarded figures across the NHS and wider healthcare sector. To be shortlisted as a finalist for these awards, despite tough competition from hundreds of brilliant applicants, is a mark of real achievement for Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs and the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

The winners will be selected following a rigorous, “live panel” judging stage ahead of the HSJ Value Awards 2020 awards ceremony. Held at Manchester Central on 21 May 2020, the evening will provide a great opportunity for influential figures to unite and celebrate the achievements of their industry peers. The awards evening is expected to be attended by leaders and professionals from within the NHS. This year’s chosen charity partner is MediCinema a charity dedicated to improving the wellbeing of patients, their families and carers across the UK through the magic of the shared cinema experience.

The full list of finalists for the 2020 HSJ Value Awards can be found on https://value.hsj.co.uk/