Heart Failure Service recognised at national awards

Published: 16 May 2017

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s Heart Failure Service has been awarded ‘highly commended’ at a prestigious national event hosted by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The trust’s Integrated Heart Failure Service had been shortlisted for the ‘Cardiology Team of the Year 2017’ award. The award ‘honours a team that is leading the way to improve standards in care in cardiology’. The team were pipped to the post to be declared the overall winner of the category but came a close second with a ‘highly commended’ award.

The Heart Failure Service was nominated for the award because of how they work across both the hospital and the community to develop and enhance the care provided for heart failure patients in our area. Heart failure is now a common condition, particularly in older people, and can result in poor quality of life and frequent admission to hospital.

In 2013, the trust introduced an Integrated Heart Failure Service (IHFS) in Torbay to deliver high quality, specialist multi-disciplinary care to heart failure patients both in hospital and in the community. Three new heart failure nurses were appointed (prior to their introduction there were no hospital-based heart failure nurses at Torbay hospital) and a number of new initiatives were introduced. These included rapid access and advanced heart failure clinics, an improved process where clinicians are alerted to and review all heart failure admissions, five patient education videos were produced and the trust’s heart failure research programme was expanded.

As part of the judging process, the team demonstrated how things have improved for patients, including:

  • In 2013, 408 patients were admitted into Torbay hospital with heart failure. Since the introduction of the IHFS, we now identify and confirm heart failure in more patients admitted to hospital (516 in 2015 and 569 in 2016) enabling our patients to receive the specialist treatment that they require and as timely as possible.

  • In 2013, only one third of these patients were cared for on a cardiology ward, the majority being looked after by general physicians and non-specialist nurses on non-cardiology wards within the hospital. However, now the majority of patients (52 percent) are cared for on the dedicated cardiology ward and 90 percent of heart failure patients are receiving specialist input.

  • Prior to the introduction of the Integrated Heart Failure Service, in the 30 days following discharge, 25 per cent were re-admitted. Now in the 30 days following discharge, re-admissions have reduced to 22 percent.

  • In 2013, Community-based heart failure care was provided by two heart failure nurses who undertook a total of 1,104 consultations either at home or in the patients local community hospital. However, the annual number of out-patient consultations has now significantly increased to 2,250.

Dr Phil Keeling, Consultant Cardiologist at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “On behalf of the heart failure team, I’d like to say how incredibly proud I am of this achievement as it recognises the quality of the care provided to our patients with heart failure.

“Our service is evidence that a highly motivated and dedicated team can introduce massive improvements and can coordinate care seamlessly within the hospital and across the wider community. We are now looking to develop and further enhance the heart failure service as seeing the difference it can make to our patients’ lives is extremely rewarding.”

Mairead McAlinden, Chief Executive for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Our Heart Failure Service provides fantastic care to local people – they fully deserve this national recognition. I am delighted for the team and offer them my sincere congratulations.

“This award is testament to the continuing work to develop and improve our heart failure service, building a team approach to make sure their patients get the best possible care.”

This award also follows another ‘runner up’ award for the team who were shortlisted for the Royal College of Physicians ‘Quality Improvement Award’ in April 2017.

The BMJ Awards recognise and celebrate the inspirational work of healthcare teams across the country and this year’s ceremony took place in London on Friday 5 May 2017. Further information about the BMJ Awards can be found on their website.