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Birmingham health and care heroes winner of NHS70 awards

The Heartlands Elderly Care, Trauma and Ongoing Recovery Project (HECTOR) at University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham was today (4 July 18) honoured in parliament as part of a special, one-off competition to mark the NHS’s 70th birthday.

The NHS70 Parliamentary Awards, sponsored by IBM and Teva, were launched in February to recognise the massive contribution made by the individuals who work in and alongside the NHS.

MPs in England were asked to nominate individuals and teams serving their constituents across 10 categories. Regional champions were selected in May, with the national winners chosen by a panel of senior leaders representing staff and patients.

HECTOR was nominated by Jess Phillips MP in the Excellence in Emergency and Urgent Care Award.

The team works mainly with frail elderly who have suffered trauma.  Dr David Raven, clinical lead in the HECTOR team explains: “Most people think trauma work is road traffic accidents.  It’s not.  One of our biggest challenges in hospitals is the care of frail elderly patients.  When I trained at med school we did one week of geriatrics and that was it.  I’ve always been interested in trauma so when I joined Heartlands I set up the trauma network up there, and combining that with older people is a real challenge.   They are fun people to work with and can be very cheeky but they have complex health needs.   So, it’s really important for us to understand how they have come to be injured so we can try and stop it happening again.  When they’re with us we’ll look at whether they’re drinking enough and eating well; whether they’re able to use the toilet on their own; if they’re at risk of developing a blood clot; what their level of confusion is – could be from dementia or a water infection – and if they can be rehabilitated.   One of the biggest risks is repeat falling.”

Kiran Patel, medical director for NHS England (West Midlands) added: “The Emergency Department (ED) team at Heartlands Hospital recognised that there was a need to develop a whole new way of caring for elderly older people with traumatic injuries. HECTOR has developed an approach that puts the patient at the heart of their care by understanding why and how they have the injuries they present with.  As a result, patients are in hospital for less time, have fewer medical complications and a higher likelihood of returning home after discharge.”

Judge Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, chair of the Junior Doctors Committee at the BMA, gave the team their award.  He said: “The team behind the HECTOR project have taken an issue increasingly affecting every Emergency Department across the country, and responded with a service which both displays compassion and understanding of the needs of elderly and frail patients, and frees up colleagues and resources to focus on other patients needing emergency help. This award is an important recognition of their success, and I was delighted to be able to present it to them.”

Dr Raven said: “We are incredibly proud to have won this award, especially when there are so many other strong contenders in the Emergency and Urgent Care category. HECTOR has always been about patient-centred care and changing our perspectives of what constitutes major trauma in an ageing population, so to be recognised nationally for this, is an amazing achievement for the whole team.”

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “As we celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS, it’s an opportune moment to recognise the extraordinarily dedicated and selfless health service staff, and those who work or volunteer alongside them, who make the NHS what it is today: the institution that our fellow citizens say makes them proudest to be British.”

Ian Dalton, NHS Improvement chief executive, said: “Today’s winners encapsulate the amazing work of NHS staff and volunteers. We are celebrating all sorts of contributions, because it takes all sorts of people to make the NHS run, from heroes in unsung roles who have devoted their lives to the NHS, to innovators who are changing the way the NHS works.”

They were among the ten winners – selected from more than 750 nominations submitted by over 250 MPs – to receive their awards at a ceremony on the Palace of Westminster’s Terrace Pavilion, hosted by Dr Sara Kayat, NHS GP and TV Doctor. Health Select Committee Chair Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP, and the panel of judges collectively representing millions of NHS staff and patients were also on hand to pay tribute to the winners and all those shortlisted.

Wider celebrations to mark the NHS’s big birthday will include thousands of NHS Big 7Tea parties to raise money for NHS charities, whilst dozens of landmark buildings will light up blue, including York Minster, the Blackpool Tower, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the London Eye and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The BT Tower will also run a special birthday message on its iconic infoband.

Find out more about NHS70 celebrations and how to get involved at www.nhs70.nhs.uk.

Further information on the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards is available at www.nhs70awards.co.uk.