The Guidelines in Practice Awards were created in 2002 to recognize innovative local initiatives to implement evidence-based clinical guidance. This year, 187 entries were received and 19 teams were short listed. Each short listed team demonstrated successful implementation of evidence-based guidance, and produced measurable improvements in patient care. A number of these initiatives will be detailed over the coming months in Guidelines in Practice.

Julia Morris, Editor of Guidelines in Practice (left), and judge Dr Alan Begg (right) present the overall winners Heidi Shute (second right) and Mary Kirk (second left) from Medway PCT, Kent, with the Guidelines in Practice Award at The Landmark, London, on 9 November 2006

The winner of this year's overall Guidelines in Practice Award was the team led by Heidi Shute, from Medway PCT, for its community heart failure service.

Julia Morris, Editor of Guidelines in Practice, presented the Award certificate and a cheque for £4000 at an after-dinner ceremony at the Landmark hotel, London, on Thursday 9 November 2006.The project also won the cardiovascular disease category, sponsored by Pfizer.The winning teams in each of the six sponsored categories – asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, COPD, diabetes, and NICE guidance – received an Award of £3000.

Praising the winners' project, the judges stated: 'This is an excellent example of evidence being put into practice with demonstrable benefits. Heidi Shute's team was able to demonstrate clearly that the benefits in reducing hospital admissions, as shown in clinical trials, can be extended into everyday practice'.

Heidi Shute, Community Cardiology Manager, told Guidelines in Practice: 'The award validates what we do and has given national recognition for the hard work and dedication of every member of the team and the collaborative support from our partners in the local healthcare system.'

'Medway's heart failure service has been developed with great enthusiasm and commitment from clinicians, managers, and support staff,' added Mary Kirk, Nurse Consultant at Medway PCT. 'The Award endorses Medway's heart failure model as being a patient-centred quality model of care providing best practice utilizing evidence-based guidelines'.

The group is planning to use its winnings to develop a home-based exercise programme for all cardiac patients. Its winning entry will be published in the December 2006 issue of the journal.

There were two joint runners up in the overall Guidelines in Practice Award, each of which received an Award of £1000 plus £3000 for winning their respective disease categories. The first joint runner up, and winner of the diabetes category, sponsored by Sanofi-Aventis, was the team led by Dr Peter Standing, from the Minden Medical Centre, Bury, for its personalized diabetic care plans.

Julia Morris (left) and Dr Alan Begg (right) with Guidelines in Practice Award runners up Karen Partington (second right) and Susan Brierley (second left)

These care plans incorporate the recommendations of evidence-based guidelines. They include clear concise guidance on why targets for blood pressure, cholesterol, and glycaemic control are so important, and provide the healthcare team with a valuable annual monitoring tool.

'This team adopted an innovative approach to setting individual patient's targets of their own personal care,' reported the judges. 'The team demonstrated excellent improvements in care, and met exacting standards. They have produced meticulous documentation on the level and quality of patient care, of which they should all be proud.'

Dr Helen Deakin, Principal GP at the Minden Medical Centre, said: 'The care of patients with diabetes is a real team effort, involving the whole of the practice team from doctors and nurses to receptionists.We are very pleased that our teamwork has been recognized in this way. It will give us a real boost to try to help empower our patients to control their diabetes and live life to the full.'

The second joint runner up of the overall Award, and winner of the NICE guidance category, sponsored by NICE, was the Oxford Terrace Medical Group, led by Dr Peter Young, for its project – Implementing the NICE guideline for depression in primary care.

Julia Morris (left) and Dr Alan Begg (right) with Guidelines in Practice Award runners up Ed Hinde (second right) and Geraldine Dennis (second left)

The practice has employed a mental health worker to improve access to psychological therapy and develop a care pathway for the management of depression. Implementation of this NICE guidance in the practice has resulted in improved assessment of patients with depression, a significant reduction in antidepressant drug therapy, and an increased use of cognitive behavioural therapy.

Commenting on the project, the judges remarked: 'We were impressed by the significant change in prescribing and management of patients with depression in line with the NICE guideline. The reduction in drug therapy, and increased use of cognitive behavioural therapy is to be applauded.The team has adopted an approach that all practices should aspire to'.

Team leader Dr Peter Young, said: 'I entered our project in these Awards to try and raise the profile of depression in primary care. Depression is still not getting the funding and attention that other long-term conditions such as diabetes and ischaemic heart disease are getting.'

'We have shown how the management of patients with depression can be improved to achieve better outcomes for patients. I hope that by winning this award we will encourage others to develop primary care services to enable comprehensive care of patients with depression,' he added.

The Oxford Terrace Medical Group plans to use the prize money to contribute to the funding of the mental health worker.

The asthma category, sponsored by Trinity Chiesi, was won by the team led by Joanne Rummens from Cae Glas Surgery in Shropshire for its evaluation of a clinical audit of asthma patients overusing reliever medication.

Judge Dr Peter Saul (right) along with winner of the asthma category, Joanne Rummens (left), and Bill Lee from Trinity Chiesi (centre)

The group carried out an audit in the practice to identify poorly controlled asthma patients on treatment step 1 of the BTS/SIGN asthma management guidelines.

'This entry impressed the judges by demonstrating adherence to guidance, which led to clinical improvement of symptom control.The detailed audit, with its clear outcomes, was an excellent model that could be used by others', reported the judges.

The team led by Melanie Ripley, from the G5 Failsworth Health Centre, Oldham, won the cancer category, sponsored by AstraZeneca, for its project – The Oldham Cancer Family History Service.

Deborah Sullivan (right) and Anne Ogden (left), winners of the cancer category, along with Michael Morgan-Curran from AstraZeneca (centre)

This patient-focused service offers a risk assessment for people who are concerned about the number of relatives who have been diagnosed with breast, bowel, uterine, or ovarian cancer. Individuals are given comprehensive information about their risk outcomes, healthy lifestyles, cancer awareness and national screening programmes.

The judges commented: 'The attention to detail in this project was impressive. Patients get a quick assessment and reassurance with specific information and immediate onward referral where appropriate.'They concluded: 'It includes all the elements to make it an excellent service'.

The COPD category, jointly sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and Pfizer, was won by the team led by Dr Nigel Masters, from the Highfield Surgery, High Wycombe, for its project – Passionate about COPD: A multifaceted proactive approach to COPD care.

Catherine Tutt (right) and Dr Nigel Masters (left), winners of the COPD category, along with Richard Pitt from Boehringer Ingelheim (centre)

The practice has taken an innovative approach to improving the management of its COPD patients. Commenting on this project, the judges said: 'This practice-based initiative to implement national guidance demonstrated a good multifaceted holistic approach. Patients benefited from more rational drug therapy and appropriate monitoring'.

The practice plans to use the prize money to develop a website, which will allow a larger audience access to its simple, structured, practical approach to COPD.

Guidelines in Practice, November 2006, Volume 9(11)
© 2006 MGP Ltd
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