Although the end of June deadline for the 2006 Guidelines in Practice Awards is fast approaching there is still time to prepare your submission.
We are sure there are many excellent initiatives taking place up and down the country which would make ideal entries. In case you have not yet decided whether or not to enter one of your projects we thought it would be helpful to highlight the wide range and variety of suitable topics for each category.
The Awards are open to primary or shared care initiatives to implement national evidence-based guidance in the NHS.
This year there are six sponsored categories for projects in specific areas (asthma, cancer, cardiovascular, COPD, diabetes and NICE guidance) as well as the overall Award for projects in any clinical area.
There has been a universal improvement in asthma care triggered by the QOF. Practice initiatives include those directed at improving self-management, attendance at clinics as well as staff training. Schemes have also included mechanisms to update practice protocols and guidelines in line with the SIGN/BTS 'living' guideline.
Screening and education programmes for familial cancer and identification of early stage disease play a vital role along with the development of appropriate local referral pathways. The Gold Standards Framework programme has resulted in improved patient management and palliative care along with the introduction of a structured approach to the follow-up and support of cancer patients in the community.
As the number of GPs with special interests (GPwSIs) increases, chest pain, heart failure and certain investigations are no longer solely the responsibility of secondary care. Rehabilitation and facilitated care programmes as well as self-monitoring schemes all help to lead to an improved quality of life for patients.
The innovative development of pulmonary rehabilitation schemes in patients with COPD has been a recent success story with a trained specialist role for the community team. Associated smoking cessation initiatives can become an essential component of these patients' clinical management.
Schemes to transfer diabetes care into the community continue to increase. Healthcare professionals working in the community have a significant role to play in identifying new cases and screening for retinopathy in existing ones.
The NICE category sponsored by the organisation is open to initiatives to implement any NICE guidance within the NHS. NICE guidance covers a wide range of clinical areas including epilepsy, dyspepsia, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions. Generic schemes for regional implementation are also eligible.
The overall Award
Finally, the Guidelines in Practice Award category is open to schemes to implement any national evidence-based clinical guidance within the NHS. In addition to the areas previously mentioned, you may wish to consider schemes to implement NSFs in other areas, for example, those relating to: children, renal disease, older people and long-term conditions.
SIGN and academic professional body guidelines also cover a broad spectrum of clinical areas relevant to primary and shared care.
Remember, although the judges like to see exciting and original initiatives, auditing your work to show its effectiveness is essential.
As Sheila Dryden, whose team won the COPD category in last year's Awards, put it:"When you write about your service, explain how it was set up, how the team members have developed and how it benefits the patients. When you put it all down on paper you will be surprised how much you have achieved. And you never know, you might win." Full details on the entry criteria and how to prepare your submission can be found here.