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Patient-led system shortlisted for Health Service Journal Award

Posted on April 18th 2016

PenCLAHRC's work with the Rheumatology Team at Derriford Hospital, on an innovative patient-led appointment system, has been shortlisted for another prestigious national award.

The Direct Access service, which enables patients with chronic conditions, such as arthritis, to have more control of their treatment, has been shortlisted in the General Medicine category at this year’s Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare Awards.

Introduced in 2011, the Patient Initiated Appointment System (PIAS), currently allows 800 patients to contact a specialist nurse when they are worried about an aspect of their disease. An appointment can then be made quickly, if required, rather than the patients being scheduled for reviews, when they don’t necessarily need them or when their symptoms are not as apparent.

Dr Vicki Goodwin, PenCLAHRC project lead said:

“The Rheumatology team at Derriford has worked very hard on developing their patient referral 'Direct Access' service in conjunction with their patients and PenCLAHRC. Being shortlisted has been a great boost to their morale and reflects the desire in the team to improve treatment for patients.”

Phil Hawkins, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) Plymouth Chair, said:

"The Direct Access scheme has enabled patients to have more control over the management of their disease by allowing them to see a clinician when they need to, and not when an appointment is due. This has enhanced patients’ confidence both in self-management of their disease, and in being more in control of their lives."

Consultant Rheumatologist and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, Dr Mark Perry, said:

“The Rheumatology Team should be rightly proud of what has been achieved: including planning with patient groups; managing the huge changes in care delivery; and the evaluation to enable further learning, both for our department and others across the healthcare community. We are working now to ensure that the service is available to all those who could benefit.”

The team will travel to London to present their case and explain why their project should win. They will then have to wait until next month to find out whether they have won. The winners will be announced on 24 May 2016 at a ceremony in Manchester.

Research and evaluation of PIAS has been led by PenCLAHRC in association with the South West Academic Health Science Network (SW AHSN). You can find out more about this project by visiting our patient-initiated clinics project page.

At the beginning of the year, the project was named runner up for Best Practice at this year’s British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) and Musculoskeletal Health Awards.