Award-winning project...Better care that saves money

Keeping an eye on the purse strings for health and social care remains a challenge as we’re faced with smaller budgets whilst being expected to fund services for an aging population who have more and more complex needs. Let’s face it: money is tight, so a big part of my job is to find new ways to deliver services that are good value without compromising on the quality of care patients receive.

Recently North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group won the Efficiency and Innovation Award for the work we’ve done to minimise the numbers of children being unnecessarily admitted onto the children’s ward in the hospital.

Back in 2012 children who attended Grimsby A&E department would often be admitted into hospital before being seen by a member of the paediatric team. More often than not children did not need any additional care and were discharged, but this process caused worry and concern for the children and their parents while wasting valuable resources. This was something that needed to change so we worked closely with the hospital to find a way of admitting fewer children into hospital, we wanted to ensure that the right care was being delivered in the right place at the right time.

Later that year we opened the Short Stay Paediatric Assessment & Observation Unit in Grimsby hospital’s A&E. By bringing a specialist children’s team into A&E children, if medically appropriate, were seen and treated as they arrived, without the need for admission.

This has made a significant difference with over 30% fewer children needing to be admitted to hospital, which is better for them and their parents, and this piece of work has not only improved children’s services but also saved us over £400k which we have been able to re-invest in services for children in the community.

We were up against two other finalists at the awards and were picked as the winners for delivering best value for money. Hopefully other CCGs at the awards will see the difference this has made to children and their parents and consider this as a way of working in their area too.

Receiving recognition for the work you do does make you feel motivated and enthusiastic; it also proves to the wider community that the NHS is always looking for new ways to be more efficient. We also wanted to say a big thank you to Eddie McCabe (Assistant Director: Finance & Procurement) who completed the nomination and put us forward for the award.

Michelle Barnard
Assistant Director for Service Planning and Redesign

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