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Excellence and innovation award for partnership working project

17 July 2014

Health Care

A joint project by Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) has received a prestigious accolade from the British Thoracic Society.

The project, which focuses on enhancing the psychological well-being in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), came out on top in the excellence and innovation category at this year's awards for innovation and quality improvement, an important part of the British Thoracic Society's summer meeting which took place at York Racecourse earlier this month.

This latest success follows national recognition at the British Medical Journal Awards in May where the project was highly commended in the 'respiratory care team' category.

Clinicians from both organisations recognised that patients with COPD are at risk of depression and anxiety, particularly those who have a severe form of the disease. Many of these patients had unmet psychological needs which were impacting on their quality of life.

A multidisciplinary team was formed to address this, and last year SEPT successfully bid for funds from NHS East of England for a year-long joint pilot project between Southend University Hospital and SEPT to support the psychological needs of patients with COPD.

A clinical psychologist was appointed who worked with the team to develop screening tools to identify emotional difficulty, as well as instigating a tiered approach to supporting the psychological wellbeing of COPD patients.

A key part of the implementation of the project was the training of 'psychology champions', members of the multidisciplinary team who had no previous psychology training but who were trained and mentored to develop skills in specific approaches to panic, mood and anxiety.

Dr Duncan Powrie, consultant respiratory physician at Southend University Hospital, said: "This is an example of how two organisations can work together in an innovative way to identify and address a common and under-recognised problem.

"The whole team bought into a new way of working; as a result we have reduced hospital admissions and patient feedback has been excellent."

Dr Greg Wood, consultant clinical psychologist at SEPT, added: "It is extremely gratifying to receive recognition from the British Thoracic Society for our COPD project.

"I'm incredibly proud of the results the team have achieved with such positive improvements in well-being and adjustment to COPD in our patients. This is an excellent example of how clinical psychologists can be of benefit to patients with physical health problems, and contribute to health efficiencies."