An innovative partnership which aims to transform the health, wealth and wellbeing of residents and communities in Newcastle has won a prestigious national award.
Collaborative Newcastle scooped the Health and Local Government Partnership Award at the national HSJ Awards 2021 last night (Thursday 18 November) for its work to support care home residents and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Collaborative Newcastle is a partnership between Newcastle City Council, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Gateshead CCG, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle University and Northumbria University – working closely with Newcastle GP Services, the GP Federation for Newcastle, Primary Care Networks and the voluntary and community sector.
Unique in scope and scale, Collaborative Newcastle brings together these organisations to combine efforts, expertise and resources to achieve its aim of reducing inequalities and providing better opportunities for people who live in the city. The HSJ Award entry focussed on the partnership’s collective work to support care homes over the past 18 months.
Cllr Karen Kilgour, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council and Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we accelerated our joint-working across Collaborative Newcastle to ensure that we could protect the most vulnerable people in the city, including those in care homes, whilst maintaining our core services.
“We worked together to create a Care Home Wraparound Support Team which was dedicated to providing the support, advice, treatment, care, training and equipment needed. The team was fundamental in helping shape local outbreak control planning – reviewing the data on local cases, sharing information and acting quickly to respond. And as soon as the vaccine became available, we developed a programme to support care homes. We completed first vaccinations to all eligible care home residents and staff ahead of schedule – a remarkable achievement which made national headlines. We’re incredibly proud of all the teams involved.”
Newcastle Hospitals’ Chief Operating Officer Martin Wilson said: “This award win is wonderful recognition for the staff and teams across our organisations. Collaborative Newcastle was conceived and developed prior to the pandemic and many joint-working practices were already in place. However, it would have been easy for partners to pause or pull away from the collaboration when Covid hit.
“Instead, we built on the foundations in place and accelerated our co-ordination, working more closely than ever as a result – this is a real testament to our people who have shown incredible leadership, resilience and commitment throughout the pandemic in order to support our residents and communities.”
Despite the demanding circumstances of the past 18 months, over 1,000 entries from across the country were received for this year’s HSJ Awards, with 205 organisations, projects and individuals making it to the final shortlist.
The judging panel was made up of a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community, including Sir Bruce Keogh (Chair, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT); Marie Gabriel CBE (Chair, NHS Race and Health Observatory); and former HSJ Trust of the Year winners Ann Marr OBE (Chief Executive, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals Trust) and Richard Mitchell (Chief Executive, Sherwood Forest Hospitals FT).
They wrote: “The judges were very impressed with this partnership which demonstrated the benefits of a mature long-standing partnership, focused on local health needs and tackling inequalities and the wider determinants of health. The presenting team came across as uniquely well connected and a true joint partnership speaking well as a collective. It was wonderful to hear that at an executive level there was a recognition of the need to invest more in the voluntary sector to underpin these changes working with communities.”
Following an in-depth judging process, Collaborative Newcastle was shortlisted earlier this year and was selected based on ‘ambition, visionary spirit and the demonstrable positive impact that it has had on both patient and staff experiences’.
Alastair McLellan, Health Service Journal editor added: “I’d like to offer my congratulations to Collaborative Newcastle. It is always so inspirational to see projects adapting, developing and improving their services for the benefit of patients across the country.
“Each year I am overwhelmed by the many impressive individuals, teams and trusts and this year was no exception. The sheer quality and standard of the nominees is outstanding and all those shortlisted, highly commended or ultimately selected as a category winner, should be very proud of their contribution to healthcare excellence.”
Newcastle Hospitals was also ‘highly commended’ in the Acute or Specialist Trust of the Year category and finalists in two other categories – Connecting Services and Information and Provider Collaboration of the Year – The Great North Care Record on behalf of North East and North Cumbria ICS.
The judges wrote: “Strong solid entry which showed a long track record in delivering outstanding care & the ability to build on this throughout the pandemic; clear ambition & vision around integration; genuine staff engagement.”