TV celebrity Dr Hilary prescribes award win for NEAS

Scheme to help reduce number of fall injuries comes out top

Breakfast TV's Dr Hilary Jones presented an award to NEAS in March for developing a scheme aimed at reducing the number of patients who get injured by falls in the North East.

Dr Jones joined Teresa Fenech, Deputy Chief Nurse at NHS North East and Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, at a regional award ceremony to recognise the committment of NHS staff to patient care. 

The event took place at the Wynyard Rooms in Teesside.

The award-wiing project developed by NEAS has since been adopted by other care agencies around the UK. 

Phil Kyle Safety Awards

Photo L-R NEAS's Phil Kyle accepts the award from Jim Mackay, Chief Executive, Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT.

With people living for longer, falls are a serious problem. To a younger person who's fit and healthy, the consequences may not be that serious. To someone in their 70's or 80's, the impact can be far more severe.                 

NEAS has looking at new ways to manage the situation. A & E ambulances are focused on attending patients with life-threatening injuries or illness. Yet many of the 999 calls received by NEAS were connected to people who had fallen over. 

If patients likely to be at risk of falling could be identified early, and measures put in place before an accident, the volume of fall-related 999 calls should be reduced. 

This would then increase the number of ambulances available to tackle life-threatening emergency calls. 

NEAS approached falls specialists from Newcastle Hospitals Foundation Trust (NUTH) for advice. Numbers were in the hundreds per month at the time, with crews spending on average 40 - 50 minutes on scene per 999 call out. 

Today this is no longer the case. NEAS and partners across the North East SHA area addressed the problem by forming a "falls community" that can identify, refer and support people who might be a potential fall patient. 

NEAS have been instrumental in bringing services with the same common goal together. 

NEAS now have a simple and very effective referral mechanism that crews use when attending fallers. 

This allows front line crews to send details of the event directly into all 12 falls services for fast track support. This information is shared with virtually all health and social care agencies that come into contact with patients at risk of falling. 

These changes have seen a huge decline in ambulance call outs to fallers. 

Teresa Fenech, Deputy Chief Nurse at NHS North East, said: 

"Every patient has the right to expect safe treatment delivered in a safe environment - this is something which is outlined in law in the NHS Constitution and something which is an absolute priority for the North East NHS. 

"It is fantastic to have Dr Hilary Jones here with us to help shine the light on the significant achievements of local doctors, nurses and NHS managers. We also look towards the future and how we can raise safety standards even further to create positive experiences for both patients and staff." 

Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the North East Patient Safety Strategic Forum, said:  "The safety of patients and staff is of paramount importance and we have a very strong track record in providing safe and effective care.

"But this certainly does not mean we are complacent.  On the contrary, local organisations are always striving to make safety standards even higher across the board.   

"The improvements we are celebrating are testament to the commitment and dedication of staff right across the region, the strong partnerships which exist between our NHS organisations and a shared common goal to continuously improve the quality and safety of patient care." 

To find out more about patient safety work across the region's NHS and to view the latest infographic visit:  

Full list of patient safety award winners: 

Category 1  Managing the deteriorating patient

Winner        South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust 

Category 2   Safeguarding adults

Winner         NHS Tees 

Category 3   Safeguarding children

Winner         Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust 

Category 4   Reducing healthcare associated infections (HCAIs)

Winner         Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust 

Category 5   Safe surgery

Winner        North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust 

Category 6   Suicide and unexpected death

Winner         Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust and MIND 

Category 7  Falls

Winner        North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust 

Category 8   Drug safety

Winner        North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust 

Category 9   Care, transfers and handovers

Winner         South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust 

Category 10 Reducing mortality

Winner         North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust


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