08 May 2019

Finalists for the prestigious and highly competitive British Medical Journal (BMJ) Awards 2019, ELFT’s Tower Hamlets based Mental Healthcare of Older People Services team were delighted to attend the ceremony held in central London on 24 April for their success in reducing length of stay, as first described here.

All the staff on Leadenhall ward were involved in the project and recognised by the BMJ for their remarkable success. By working with colleagues from the Trust’s Quality Improvement team they were able to make reductions in the length of stay and bed occupancy on the ward far outstripping a national average of 76 days, bringing it down to 30 days. The team has maintained this achievement for over 2 years.

Explaining the success, consultant psychiatrist Waleed Fawzi said “I work with a remarkable and stable team of exceptionally dedicated and excellent professionals who enjoy working with  patients with complex mental and physical health needs.”

"Over this time we have not seen a reduction in the number of patients admitted. Reducing length of stay is important because longer admissions in the elderly are associated with a decline in the ability to function.  Most of our patients are able to maintain, and sometimes improve, all the skills they had before admission and thus are able to maintain their independence and a good quality of life at the point of discharge. Our rate of re-admission is also much lower than the national average.”

Working in alliance with the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) financial savings have been made which allowed the service to develop and sustain a core of dedicated and skilled staff from across a range of professions, including music, art, occupational and physiotherapists, specialist nurses (diabetes and tissue viability), mental health nurses and a GP service.

Summing up the experience of the night, Waleed said: “It was wonderful to be out for the evening celebrating with my hard working team, and having them recognised for their efforts. We all had a great time.”

Congratulations to the team from Southampton's University Hospital, who won the Care of Older Persons category  on the night for their work on Changing the Culture of Care. A full list of winners is available here.