Pioneering project shortlisted for prestigious award 

13/09/2017 00:00 
UCLH’s complex pain team has made the finals of the Health Service Journal's awards.

The team – the first of its kind in the country – has been shortlisted for a project that has improved patient outcomes and experience, while reducing the total cost of their care.

It works with patients who have persistent or chronic pain, helping them manage their pain and improve their quality of life.

The care isn’t limited to their time in hospital – the team work with the patient and their GP to ensure they have support to continue the care plan.

Education is also key, with almost 5,000 UCLH nurses benefitting from e-learning and face-to-face teaching.

Research has shown the two-year project to have a substantial effect on outcomes.

Mental and physical health improves and patients are less likely to visit their GP or A&E. On average, 20 hospital bed days are saved per patient per year.

The team has collected data which suggests that the reduction in healthcare utilisation more than covers the cost of the service, saving NHS money overall.

One patient told how she felt she was trapped in a nightmare before being referred to the complex pain team.

She said: “They gave me the most brilliant support. They helped me understand the pain.  They helped me learn how to accept help with the most basic tasks of everyday living.

“They saw me as me and they helped me escape from that nightmare.”

The complex pain team took the Improving prize at UCLH’s Celebrating Excellence Awards earlier this year, where it was described as “the new face of innovation in delivering healthcare”.

Now, it is hoping to triumph on the national stage.

The team is made up of pain consultants, clinical health psychologists, a specialist physiotherapist, clinical nurse specialist, clinical practice facilitator, project manager and administrator.

The two-year pilot was made possible by funding from UCLH Charity and Camden Clinical Commissioning Group and the team is now seeking funding to provide a permanent service.

Plans include expanding the service beyond UCLH, to help patients and clinicians across the North Central London Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

Natasha Curran, the team’s clinical lead, said: “There were over 1,500 applicants for HSJ awards this year so we are delighted to have made the final.

“It means a lot to our team to be recognised particularly as we are seeking to build a permanent service and to our joint organisations who have supported us to get this far."

A spokesman for the HSJ Awards said: “2017 has seen a staggering increase in entries from all over the NHS and the wider healthcare industry, so to be shortlisted is a fantastic achievement!”

The winners will be announced at the end of November.

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