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Oxfordshire team collects Guardian Healthcare Innovation Award for Service Delivery Innovation

Guardian healthcare innovation award winners
Left to right: Dr Daniel Lasserson, GP and researcher at the University Department of Primary Care, Dr Barbara Batty, Deputy Clinical Director, South West Locality at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Maggie Webb, Unit Manager /Modern Matron at Abingdon Community Hospital, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and David Brindle, Public Services Editor for The Guardian

The Emergency Multidisciplinary Unit (EMU) based at Abingdon Community Hospital has been successful at the prestigious Guardian Healthcare Innovation Awards, being named as best Service Delivery Innovation. The team of judges - drawn from prominent national figures in healthcare policy, innovation and leadership - selected EMU from amongst projects nationwide, and announced the success at an awards ceremony on the 24th October at The Guardian headquarters in London.

The EMU is an innovative service in ‘interface healthcare’. It has been designed carefully to meet the urgent assessment and treatment needs of patients with multiple, often complex problems, many of whom are frail and elderly. The unit provides comprehensive medical, nursing, therapist and social care assessment, supported by advances in 'point-of-care' diagnostic technology that provide test results within minutes of patients' arrival.

The original design and subsequent delivery of the service is the product of work by the Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at Oxford University, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Oxfordshire County Council. Their success is the result of collaboration and integration between providers: academic and clinical, acute and community, health and social. General Practitioners in South Oxfordshire have been involved in the development of the service from the beginning and Oxford Clinical Commissioning Group has supported the service throughout and is now responsible for commissioning the EMU at Abingdon. 

Pete McGrane, Clinical Director of Community Services Division at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I would like to congratulate the highly committed multidisciplinary team who have worked hard to adapt to this new way of working. This award underlines that working in partnership can lead to new, improved services for patients closer to where they live.”

Dr Daniel Lasserson, GP and researcher at the University Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said: “This recognition by the Healthcare Innovation judging panel shows what can be achieved by collaboration across disciplines. We must continue to develop and evaluate new services supported by technological advances to find the best way of caring for our most frail and complex patients”

Dr Barbara Batty from the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning group said: “We are thrilled by this national recognition, which shows the unit is making a real difference to improving patient health and well-being. The unit focuses on patients with multiple health and social care needs, particularly the frail elderly .They are given tailored, individual care from a dedicated multidisciplinary team with professionals from both health and social care working together to provide the best possible outcome for patients. We are planning to extend this model of care across Oxfordshire so other patients can benefit from this approach." 

Dr James Price, Clinical Director at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust said: "When expert teams assess patients promptly and tailor care to individual needs, the results are great quality of care and best value for money. The EMU 'emergency team' approach does exactly that, and is being rolled out County-wide. Alongside other important changes that strengthen the County's emergency health and social services, this will ensure that care remains safe and accessible throughout the periods of exceptional patient need that we expect this winter".

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