Rheumatology Patient Helpline wins Star Award

Rheumatology Patient Helpline Staff from left to right: Fiona Bulman, Elaine Wren, Katie Gallacher, Hayley Spencer and Jack Jones.

7 April 2016

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s Rheumatology Patient Helpline has been bestowed with a national award at the recent Health Education England 2016 Star Awards.

The Trust’s Rheumatology team were nominated in the ‘Wonderful Workforce Solution’ category following a successful reshaping of their helpline service. The patient helpline now better utilises the skills and knowledge of the rheumatology team to offer an easily accessible and responsive service to patients to help them manage their disease and treatments.

The rheumatology telephone helpline (01803 654939) is open from 9am until 4.30pm Monday to Friday. The aim is to give timely advice and appropriate intervention at times of crisis and when symptoms become worse. It also offers a call back telephone clinic service from a specialist nurse between 10.00am and 12.30pm Monday to Friday, helping people avoid unnecessary visits to the outpatient clinic.

The judges of the award category commented that the team’s nomination: “outlined your commitment to the quality of service you offer to your patients. The judges were particularly impressed by your team having developed a series of interlinking services to not only improve the patient experience, but also the staff experience through multi-disciplinary working.”

Sally Plumb, Rheumatology Clinical Nurse Specialist for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Rheumatology team is delighted, honoured and extremely proud to have won this prestigious award recognising our commitment and hard work to improving our patients’ experience. We continuously strive to provide a high quality, coordinated service to our patients by using the skills and experience of all members of our multi-disciplinary team. We aim to build on this achievement to help meet the ongoing challenges of this disease.”

The Trust’s Clinical Effectiveness Team surveyed users of the helpline in November 2015 in order to evaluate the service. Based on 101 respondents, 99 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with the telephone helpline, whilst 100 per cent were happy with the advice/information they received when called back. Respondents also gave overwhelming positive feedback comments in the survey.

Two individual staff members of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust were also recognised at the Health Education England 2016 Star Awards. Quality Assurance Coordinator, Scott Roberts, was one of just two finalists in the ‘Higher Apprentice of the Year’ category, and Nick Peres, the Trust’s Lead for Learning Technologies, was also one of just two finalists in his category ‘Hearing the Patient Voice’. Nick was recognised for using innovation and technology to ensure that the patient voice is heard in education and training.


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