The Guidelines in Practice Asthma Award 2007 was held to recognise innovative local initiatives to implement evidence-based clinical guidance on this therapy area. We would like to thank Trinity-Chiesi for sponsoring this Award, and Dr Alan Begg and Dr David Bellamy for judging the entries, many of which showed clear, quantifiable improvements in patient care.

Winning initiative—a pharmacist-led asthma clinic

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2007 Award was the team led by Doreen Cochrane from the Cedar Practice, London (Photo 1). In this project, the PCT pharmacist worked as an integral member of the clinical team, providing a weekly asthma clinic to review patients and to ensure that treatment of this condition was in line with the BTS/SIGN guideline on the management of asthma. This initiative has highlighted and sought to rectify inconsistencies in the care of adults and young people with asthma.

The judges praised the initiative of having the PCT pharmacist conduct an audit of the practice’s current prescribing for asthma: ‘This is a new way of trying to assess and correct therapy for patients.’ Commenting on the implementation of the audit, the judges called it an: ‘excellent correction of BTS step therapy, particularly in children.’

The PCT will receive a cheque for £2000 to help further this initiative. Doreen Cochrane, the PCT pharmacist, told Guidelines in Practice: ‘We are delighted to have our hard work recognised by winning this Award.’

Cochrane Team

Photo 1 Back row from left to right: Dr Debbie Shier (GP), Cherie Nelson (Practice Nurse), Doreen Cochrane (PCT Prescribing Support Pharmacist), Dr Paula Stanley (GP). Front row from left to right: Sinead Kelly (Practice Nurse), Dr Hesha De Silva (GP).

Runner-up—Smoking cessation in young adults

The runner up in the Guidelines in Practice Asthma Award 2007 was the team from Oakleaf Medical Practice in Derry City, Northern Ireland, led by Dr Lee Casey (Photo 2). In their initiative, they demonstrated a novel approach to encouraging smoking cessation in young adults. The team organised a 7-week series of clinics, based on social learning theory principles, which aimed to encourage smoking cessation in young people. The clinics also covered lifestyle areas including the benefits of exercise, healthy eating, and levels of alcohol consumption. The clinic was popular, with 90% of participants saying they would recommend it to a friend. The award judges felt it demonstrated: ‘Lots of originality in a highly focused project to aid teenage smoking cessation.’

Casey team

Photo 2 Back row from left to right: Micheala Burns, Deputy Manager; Dr Lee Casey, GP; Marie Hutton, Community Nurse Manager. Front row from left to right: Theresa Timlin, Smoking Cessation Nurse Specialist; Mary Campbell, Smoking Cessation Nurse Specialist.

Short-listed entries

There were four short-listed entries in the Guidelines in Practice Asthma Award 2007, all of which impressed the judges.

Development of a diagnostic and management tool for paediatric asthma in primary care

A working group of paediatric asthma nurse specialists from Liverpool PCT and the Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS Trust were shortlisted for their development of an education framework and care pathway for paediatric asthma. The group obtained funding from Asthma UK to improve primary care knowledge and skills by running an asthma management course. Practice nurses and GPs were also encouraged to study for a diploma in paediatric asthma management. Discussing the entry, the judges commented that: ‘This has all the components of an excellent education programme.’

Novel ideas for efficient delivery of asthma care

Dr Nigel Masters, whose team from Highfield Surgery in Hazelmere, High Wycombe presented their innovative ideas for efficient delivery of asthma care, explained that care of patients with asthma can be improved by using a holistic approach. This could include recording information on factors that can influence this condition such as job details, inhalers, smoking practice, and allergies. They highlighted that teamwork is crucial; pharmacists can refer patients with problems, while specialist asthma nurses can perform asthma reviews and develop action plans. The judges felt that: ‘The ideas are good and help to correctly identify asthmatics and subgroups such as individuals with occupational disease.’

Smoking cessation provision in primary care

The entry from the team led by Joanna Robinson from Walsall teaching Primary Care Trust was shortlisted for its development and operation of a locally enhanced service that improves smoking cessation services, while also rewarding GPs for ensuring the quality of these services. The project showed that 89% of successful quitters were validated at 4 weeks in 2006/2007 compared to 63% in 2002/2003. The judges commented that: ‘The PCT should be congratulated as seeing smoking cessation across all categories and not just for asthmatics as an important priority.’

Patient empowerment in chronic disease—asthma

In their short-listed entry, Dr Rhoda Williams and her team from North Swindon Practice, described their respiratory clinics in which they reviewed education, lifestyle advice, and prescriptions for asthma patients. The team also developed a ‘patient passport’, which carries information for the patient that will remind him/her of targets set for them as well as other details. The passport provides information and lifestyle advice and serves as a brief clinical record for both the patient and any healthcare professional they may see. The judges praised the initiative saying it was an: ‘Excellent project with very appropriate goals, particularly in improving patients’ education and their ability to self manage their asthma.’G