Pathway charity wins Kate Granger award 

08/09/2016 00:00 
Pathway, the charity set up to ensure that homeless people get access to healthcare, has won this year’s Kate Granger Award for Compassionate Care.

The brainchild of a small team at UCLH, including the late Aidan Halligan, Pathway
has achieved a revolution in care and compassion, with 11 hospital pathway teams operating in England, supporting more than 3,000 people a year.

Pathway teams bring together the NHS, the voluntary sector, statutory services and private service providers. Teams include specially trained doctors and nurses, occupational therapists, solicitors, mental health practitioners, housing and benefits advisors, and social workers, who together make an emergency hospital admission an opportunity to change the course of a homeless person’s life.

Pathway chief executive Alex Bax said: “I am delighted with the news that the incredible compassion and commitment of our nurses, doctors and Care Navigators has been recognised. I hope this award will inspire other hospitals and NHS organisations to adopt our model and think about the care they provide to this complex and vulnerable group of patients."

Infection clinical director Vanya Gant, who is also one of the charity’s trustees, said: “Despite our incredible NHS, homeless people fall through the cracks of our socialised healthcare system time and time again for want of a registered address. This seems to be particularly true in large cities like London, where very few people talk about the gap between a world-leading city and these often invisible people’s very considerable needs. The Pathway team works hard towards reducing homeless patients’ stay in hospital (often inappropriate) and readmissions (always inappropriate), and delivers a truly personalised medical care package.”

Pathway teams are now largely funded by CCGs after a wide range of start-up funding from charitable sources including UCLH Charity. Working with CCGs, Pathway has brokered access to primary care IT systems in hospitals, allowing teams to track often transitory patients’ vital medical history to inform their acute care.
Philip Brading, Chief Executive of UCLH Charity, said: “We are delighted to have played our part in incubating Pathway. It is thanks to the dedication and perseverance of the clinical teams that this approach to improving care for the most disadvantaged is now spreading nationwide. I know the individual stories of compassionate care and recovery have inspired colleagues across the NHS.”

The Kate Granger Awards for Outstanding Compassionate Care, which are in their third year, were set up by GP Kate Granger. Kate switched her focus to patient and campaigner when she found out she was terminally ill and worked tirelessly to raise awareness around compassion in the NHS through her #hellomynameis social media campaign.
Together with her close friend and colleague Dr Natalie Silvey, a National Medical Director’s Fellow with NHS England, Kate chose the nine finalists for this year’s awards shortly before she died on 23 July from a rare type of sarcoma.
Kate’s husband of 12 years, Chris Pointon, took Kate’s place at the awards at the Health and Care Innovation Expo yesterday.

Before her death at the age of 34, Kate said she hoped the awards would continue and grow into an even bigger event, saying: “Being a patient has taught me a huge amount about being a doctor. Prioritising compassionate care in its rightful place alongside patient safety, under the umbrella of quality is perhaps one of the most important things I have learned.”

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