Domestic Abuse work in Devon shortlisted for national award

A Devon project to provide better support to people experiencing domestic abuse and/or sexual violence has been shortlisted for a national award

The Whole Systems for Whole People project is a collaboration involving NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Devon County Council, Torbay Council, Plymouth City Council and Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner. 

The team beat tough competition from hundreds of applicants to be shortlisted for the “Best Use of Integrated Care and Partnership Working in Patient Safety Award” at this year’s Health Service Journal Patient Safety Awards; recognising their outstanding contribution to healthcare.

Whole Systems for Whole People (WS4WP) was driven by shared understanding of how local services do not always meet the needs of people with multiple complex needs and those affected by domestic abuse and/or sexual violence. 

Traditionally, the NHS, social services, the police and other agencies have worked  separately, which limits attempts to create meaningful change. Through this programme agencies worked in partnership to pilot new ways of working and better meet the needs of local people.

Collette Eaton-Harris, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Lead for NHS Devon CCG, said: “We know that the NHS is often a trusted first point of call for people experiencing abuse. It’s vital that we keep developing our services to be ready to respond when people are at their most vulnerable.”

Chief Superintendent Matt Longman, Chair of Safer Plymouth “This programme has been driven by innovation and a passion to improve our response to some of the most marginalised people in Devon. 

“This success is also due to the hard work and commitment of many frontline NHS, Police, domestic abuse and sexual violence practitioners who have been championing this work through the incredible pressures of Covid.”

Winners will be selected ahead of the ceremony, which will take place as part of the Patient Safety Congress and Awards in Manchester in September 2022.

The full list of finalists for the 2022 HSJ Patient Safety Awards can be found here

NHS welcomes people arriving from Ukraine and marks Refugee Week

Staff at a GP practice in Torquay are among hundreds of people in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay who have been moved by the war in Ukraine to offer accommodation to people who are escaping the conflict.

The team at Brunel Medical Practice have made a flat, which is owned by partners, available to a mother and daughter Liudmyla and Nataliia, who have moved to Devon from Kiev with their dog and four cats

The team are among hundreds of sponsors from across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay who, according to the latest available figures  have applied to become hosts for 1772 people under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.  This is in addition to the many people who have helped family members to the safety of the UK.

1628 visas have been approved under the scheme for people coming to Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. 1138 of them have arrived so far.

This national Refugee week, which runs from 20th June, is particularly poignant for Brunel Medical practice staff and the many other local people, who have or are about to welcome people into their homes.

Practice Manager Rachael Lankshear said: “The whole team was moved to action by the harrowing pictures we were seeing on the news.  The partners agreed to offer up an empty flat they owned and the team came together to decorate and furnish it.  This was a way of us showing support for Ukraine in a personal way at such a difficult time.”

Liudmyla, a retired nurse, and hairdresser Nataliia arrived in Torquay in May and recently showed their appreciation for practice staff by cooking them lunch, including blinis; a favourite food from home. They said “We are so very grateful for the wonderful, kind and generous support that Brunel Medical Practice have given us. 

“They have helped to make an incredibly difficult time easy to bear and deal with, and for this we are eternally thankful and will never forget what they have done for us.  We feel so lucky and so happy to be here in beautiful Torquay, and so safe!”

While people fleeing the current conflict in Ukraine is new to Devon, the area has been supporting refugees from many different countries for many years.

Recently approximately 100 people were hosted in temporary accommodation through the Afghan resettlement scheme, for people and their families who had supported British forces in Afghanistan.

Exmouth GP Dr Barry Coakley worked closely with Afghan refugees on their arrival and said: “The people we were caring for had helped to keep our British forces safe and we welcomed the opportunity to support them in return.  We needed to explain how the NHS works, such as what a prescription is and how to use it to get medication.

“Having left in a hurry many people hadn’t brought medication and had only verbal accounts of their medical histories. We needed to think differently when treating them; for instance a headache might have been caused because they had left their glasses behind and were experiencing eye strain. We also needed to ensure they had good mental health support.”

Work supporting people from Afghanistan and previously Syria has ensured that local authorities, charities and health services were already working in partnership and able to offer appropriate health support to people escaping the war in Ukraine.

Posters in Ukrainian and Russian from Doctors of the World explain how the NHS works and how to access services.

People arriving from Ukraine do not need to prove their ID or address in order to register with a GP.  They will automatically be assigned an NHS number through the visa process and should be offered a GP appointment soon after registering to assess their immediate health needs. 

People are also able to have any Covid vaccinations they are eligible following their arrival and do not need to wait for their NHS number nor to prove their identity.

Devon healthcare heroes honoured in NHS Parliamentary Award

The tireless commitment and compassion of some of Devon’s health teams have been recognised by the NHS in the South West today (13 June) in the 2022 NHS Parliamentary Awards, having been nominated by their MPs.

The Devon 2022 regional winners, selected by NHS leaders in the South West, are:

  • The Excellence in Healthcare Award: Dr Mary Stocker, consultant anaesthetist at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, nominated by Anthony Mangnall MP
  • The Health Equalities Award: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team (Andrew Millward, Nicola Bonas, Nellie Guttmann and Aggie Szpinda) NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, nominated by Luke Pollard MP and Anthony Mangnall MP
  • The Covid-19 Response Award: Darryn Allcorn, Chief Nurse at NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, nominated by Geoffrey Cox

NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group’s Chief Nurse, Darryn Allcorn won the Covid-19 Response award.  The award recognises his personal contribution setting up NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter; which treated around 250 Covid-19 patients at the height of the pandemic.  The hospital has now been repurposed and provides eye and orthopaedic procedures, diagnostic scans and rheumatology appointments. Judges also recognised his leadership of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Darryn said: “I am both humbled and overjoyed to receive this award, which I believe also recognises the incredible work of all our staff and volunteers across NHS Nightingale and the Covid-19 vaccination programme.”

“I am incredibly proud of our achievements over the last two years.  Over 2.8 million Covid-19 vaccinations have been given at dozens of locations across Devon in the last 18 months. Meanwhile NHS Nightingale Exeter continues to support the local health system, as it addresses the waiting list backlog caused by the pandemic.”

Dr Mary Stocker, a consultant at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded the Excellence in Healthcare award for her contributions to advancing best practice and excellence in day surgery.  Mary is a Consultant Anaesthetist and was Clinical Lead for the Day Surgery Unit at Torbay Hospital for over 15 years.  Mary is now Joint Clinical Lead for the Southwest Ambulatory Orthopaedic Centre (SWAOC) at NHS Nightingale Exeter (Nightingale).

Mary said: “I am delighted and honoured to accept this award. The work which I have championed both locally and nationally has only been possible due to the support and dedication of the multidisciplinary team within the Torbay Hospital Day Surgery Unit, the Southwest Ambulatory Orthopaedic Centre and the British Association of Day Surgery.

“I thank all these teams whose unfailing support and enthusiasm has allowed me to help pioneer excellence in day surgery within Torbay and South Devon and beyond.”

NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team won the Health Equalities Award; which recognised their trailblazing work to tackle health inequalities experienced by ethnically diverse communities in Devon and the vaccination outreach programme during which saw over 50,000 from vulnerable communities (including LGBTQ+, Migrant workers, Gypsy Roma and Traveller communities and ethnically diverse groups),  receive their covid-19 vaccination. The outreach programme included a Vaccine Ambassador programme, using trusted community representatives to provide reliable information, to understand barriers to people having the vaccine and to help overcome them. Judges said their work had significantly improved vaccine confidence and uptake in communities and set an example for other health systems regionally and nationally.

Andrew Millward, Director of Communications, Involvement and Inclusion at NHS Devon CCG said, “I am very happy that the judges have recognised our commitment to giving everyone equal access to healthcare.  Before the Covid-19 vaccination programme even began, we engaged with communities to understand how we could best support them. This work has not only helped people to have the potentially life saving Covid-19 vaccination, but has created community relationships, which we can continue to develop to support people to live longer, healthier, happier lives, for many years to come.”

Jane Milligan, Chief Executive of NHS Devon CCG said, “I am delighted that the judges have recognised the tireless dedication shown by our staff and volunteers throughout the pandemic.  The NHS has faced unprecedented challenges throughout the last couple of years, but these awards demonstrate how people have risen to those challenges and innovated in ways which will support the health and wellbeing of local people into the future.  I am incredibly proud of all that our teams have done throughout the pandemic and that their achievements have been publicly acknowledged through the NHS Parliamentary awards.”

Winners have been chosen in 10 categories, ranging from NHS Rising Star to Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care. This year also saw a new category introduced, reflecting the response to Covid-19.

The successful individuals and teams were selected from among 87 nominees – the highest number since the awards were introduced in 2018 to mark the NHS’ 70th birthday.

Elizabeth O’Mahony, Regional Director of NHS England and NHS Improvement in the South West region, said: “I’m delighted to see our dedicated staff across the South West recognised in this way.

“Their tireless commitment and care, not only through the course of the pandemic but for many their whole careers, is truly inspiring and heart-warming,

“I’d like to congratulate every single one of the winners, and to thank all the MPs for putting forward such strong candidates.”

The Devon winners and their nominating MPs now go forward to the national awards ceremony in London on 6 July.

“Inspirational” and “Amazing”- national patient champions Healthwatch England visit Devon services

The NHS in Devon has hosted the national team from health and social care champions Healthwatch England; an independent body, which uses patient feedback to improve standards of care.

The team, led by national Chair Sir Robert Francis, began their visit at Exeter Mosque, which has worked closely with the NHS to support worshippers to have their Covid-19 vaccination.

The Healthwatch team also visited Torbay Community Helpline and Hub, which has offered mental health support, referred people to foodbanks and offered financial advice to local people throughout the pandemic.

The team were shown around Jasmine Lodge, a new Mother and Baby Unit, and other services at Devon Partnership NHS Trust and visited NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter, which now offers rheumatology services and diagnostic screening, has a Centre of Excellence for Eyes providing cataract treatments and has operating theatres for planned orthopaedic procedures such as hip and knee replacements.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, Chair of the Integrated Care System for Devon said, “We are delighted to have hosted the national Healthwatch team, in particular Sir Robert Francis, who has been so influential in championing patient safety.  This was an opportunity to show how we are working with partners, as we prepare to bring services together in a new Integrated Care System in order to improve care and the experience of those who use them.”

Healthwatch England’s Chair, Sir Robert Francis, previously chaired the public inquiry into patient care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and the Freedom to Speak up Review, which led to the creation of Freedom to Speak Up Guardians within NHS organisations.  Sir Robert said: “It’s been a great pleasure to visit some of the health and care organisations that are having a positive impact on communities in Devon. On behalf of the Healthwatch England committee, thank you to the staff, volunteers and service users for giving us their time and for sharing their experiences with us.”

“I am grateful to the NHS Devon CCG for the opportunity to learn about the work of their health and care partners. For example, amongst the many amazing people and projects we visited across the county, we met the brilliant staff of the Nightingale Hospital Exeter, a facility built to treat patients at the height of the pandemic. Now repurposed and providing a range of orthopaedic, ophthalmology, diagnostic and rheumatology services, the Nightingale Hospital Exeter is greatly reducing waiting times and improving access for patients.”

Sir John Oldham, Healthwatch England committee member and former Care Quality Commission Senior Independent Director said: “The places we have visited have been inspirational. The passion and energy of everyone we met shone through and seeing what is delivered at the Torbay Community helpline just restores your faith in humanity in these troubled times. I have no doubt that collectively the innovations we have been privileged enough to see will make a real difference to the population within One Devon.” 

Chief Executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Melanie Walker, said: “Our visitors from Healthwatch England took a great interest in our work to support people with mental health, learning disability and neurodiversity needs.  We were proud to show them around our Mother and Baby Unit, two adult acute psychiatric wards, a rehabilitation ward and our Place of Safety.”

Local Healthwatch bodies helped organise the visit. Pat Harris, Strategic Lead for Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth, and Torbay said: “We are very happy to have welcomed Sir Robert and the Healthwatch England Committee to Devon to find out more about the way we make sure real public feedback is used to improve care in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. We looked forward to sharing the work we have undertaken throughout COVID and ways in which we adapted to support the local community throughout.

“Everywhere in the country has an independent local Healthwatch nearby, and it is so important to hear from Healthwatch England about how they are ensuring nationally that NHS leaders and other care providers listen to what the public have to say, as well as how other local Healthwatch are making a real difference locally. Here at Healthwatch in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay we have good working relationships with local health and social care providers and we are delighted that some were able to join us in welcoming Sir Robert and the Healthwatch England Committee to the South West.”

Healthwatch England is an independent statutory body, which champions health and social care. It gathers patients’ experiences of GPs, hospitals, dentists, pharmacies, care homes and other support services and feeds them back to NHS leaders and other decision makers, to help improve standards of care. Last year Healthwatch helped nearly a million people to have their say on services and get the information and advice they needed.

Closer collaboration comes a step closer

Closer partnership working between health and care services for the benefit of local people has come a step closer with Royal Assent granted for the Health and Care Act 2022.

The completion of the Parliamentary process for the legislation is a welcome and important step on the journey towards the establishment of statutory Integrated Care Systems on 1 July 2022. From this date Integrated Care Systems will move onto a statutory footing with the establishment of Integrated Care Boards (ICB) and Integrated Care Partnerships.

Devon’s ICB will be known as NHS Devon and will be led by a range of people including nurses and doctors alongside senior representatives from hospitals, mental health, social care, GP practices and public health.

This Act will ensure our health and care system emerges stronger from the Covid pandemic. The challenges currently faced by the NHS, local authorities and other partners as we recover from the pandemic are huge. This comes on top of the long-term challenges we face as a country; a growing and ageing population, chronic conditions and inequalities in health outcomes. We are putting in place measures to help people live longer, healthier lives and to create a framework for us to build a safer, stronger and more joined up health and care system that delivers better outcomes for everyone. The Act aims to develop a more seamless health and care service and improve population health, building on several years of practical experience and innovation across the health and care system.

It ensures that every part of England is covered by an Integrated Care System, bringing together NHS, local government, social care providers, charities, and voluntary, community and social enterprise partners to jointly plan and provide health and care services based on the needs of the people in their areas.

Preparatory work to establish Integrated Care Systems and transition to statutory status has been ongoing for some time. This work will continue up to 1 July 2022 when the new arrangements will formally be established and Clinical Commissioning Groups will be abolished.

Get the latest news from Devon’s health and care system by signing up to our monthly One Devon Bulletin.

Working together on racial equality and inclusion

Representatives from primary care; acute care; the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; social care and local councils have been learning how understanding and improving racial equality is inspiring a more inclusive health and social care system in Devon.

Led by the inclusion team at NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, two workshops held in April included a focus on the challenges and successes in tackling health inequalities through the Covid-19 vaccination programme to help participants understand how to reach diverse communities experiencing health inequalities.

Attendees also worked together to generate and discuss ideas around how health and care partners can continue to create opportunities for collaboration in equality, diversity, and inclusion across the Integrated Care System for Devon.

Get the latest news from Devon’s health and care system by signing up to our monthly One Devon Bulletin.

Partnering patients to improve outpatient services

Health systems across the South West are working together to improve hospital outpatient services – and local people are being invited to get involved.

The South West Outpatient Transformation Programme is looking for people with an interest in helping the NHS improve the experience of hospital outpatient care for patients.

A programme spokesperson said: “If you have had experience of outpatient care in the last two years and are interested in getting involved, we are really interested in hearing from you. We have an Outpatient Patient Reference Group for the South West and we need people just like you to join us to help us to improve patient care and experience across NHS services.”

For details and express your interest, click here.

Get the latest news from Devon’s health and care system by signing up to our monthly One Devon Bulletin.

Teaming up to mark Carers Week

Carers services are working together across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay to host a range of activities to mark Carers Week next month.

Devon Carers, a service providing support to carers, is working collaboratively with counterparts in Plymouth and Torbay to host a range of in-person and online workshops and activities – click here for full details.

The service is also calling on people to raise awareness of caring by walking ‘A Mile with a Smile’ to highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout Devon.  

A Mile with a Smile was started by Devon Carers during Carers Week 2020 and has grown in popularity since.

Andy Hood, Head of Devon Carers, said: “We would love as many people as possible to walk a mile, by yourself or with family and friends, to help us raise awareness of the amazing contribution unpaid carers make. Our goal is to collectively walk the 350 mile perimeter of Devon!

“You may know of someone who is looking after a family member, friend or neighbour – tell them about our service because we are here to support them throughout their caring journey.”

Photos of people walking with a smile can be emailed to who will upload them to their website.

Devon Carers is working collaboratively with counterparts in Plymouth and Torbay to host a range of in-person and online workshops and activities, please visit Carers Week – Devon Carers for the full diary of events.

The theme of this year’s Carers Week, from 6-12 June, is ‘Make caring visible, valued and supported’. Carers Week is run nationally by Carers UK.

Get the latest news from Devon’s health and care system by signing up to our monthly One Devon Bulletin.