NHS Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group is celebrating a double win at the prestigious Health Service Journal Awards following a ceremony at the O2, London, on Wednesday 22 November.
Its innovative Teledermoscopy referral platform, which provides real-time communication between GPs and dermatology specialists to provide faster, more accurate, skin abnormality diagnoses, took the top prize in the Improving Care with Technology category.
Then former Clinical Chair, Dr Claire Fuller, was named Clinical Leader of the Year for her outstanding leadership of the CCG through a challenging period of change, and her development of the Clinical Academy, part of the Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership* which she now heads as Senior Responsible Officer.
Commissioned by Surrey Downs CCG with Communitas Clinics (provider) and Vantage Referral Management (vendor), the Teledermoscopy technology supports GPs in the diagnosis and management of skin lesions and potentially malignant moles and tumours. Referrals and images can be sent directly to qualified clinicians who are able to respond quickly to help GPs develop management plans for patients within primary care, helping patients to be seen more quickly and reducing unnecessary referrals into secondary care.
The service has been rolled out across 19 practices in Surrey Downs with approximately 76 referrals being made per month, above the projected figures. Key successes include improved diagnoses and outcomes, reduced wait times and cost savings by treating patients in the community. Of the total number of Teledermoscopy referrals, 10 per cent have been escalated to an urgent suspected cancer pathway in less time than it would have taken had they been routinely referred.
Following Teledermoscopy advice, 65 per cent of patients were successfully managed in primary care who would otherwise have had to be referred to secondary care. This represents an NHS saving of 69 per cent for each patient and, with current waits to see a secondary care consultant averaging at three-four months, it allows GPs to be able to manage their own patients quickly and closer to home.
Dr Russell Hills, Clinical Chair of the CCG, said: "I am very proud of the whole Planned Care team, including Oliver McKinley, Dr Ruchika Gupta and Ross Emmens, who have worked so hard to bring this Teledermoscopy project to fruition. The CCG prides itself on its approach to innovation in improving healthcare and it’s great to be recognised nationally for this achievement. We would also like to congratulate Dr Claire Fuller on her well-deserved award and thank her for all she has done for Surrey Downs CCG over the past four years."
Dr Claire Fuller is revered across the healthcare landscape as an inspirational leader and passionate advocate of clinical involvement in the commissioning process to improve health outcomes for all.
As former Clinical Chair and former Interim Clinical Accountable Officer at Surrey Downs CCG, she supported the development of pioneering new initiatives such as the Community Hubs and the Epsom Health and Care programme, which are succeeding in reducing non-elective emergency admissions by up to four per cent.
As clinical lead for the Clinical Academy of Surrey Heartlands, Claire has led plans to address unwarranted variation in health outcomes across the area, working with colleagues to share best practice, put pioneering research into practice through pilot projects, and introducing new and innovative ways of working.
In July 2017 Claire was appointed Senior Responsible Officer for Surrey Heartlands to lead the delivery of further improvements in care across a population of 850,000 people.
Commenting on her win, Dr Fuller said: "It is a real honour to be recognised in this way and I am thrilled for Surrey Downs for all they have achieved. In my new role I am committed to furthering clinical engagement in local healthcare planning and to developing strong partnership projects that improve care across the Surrey Heartlands region. Already we are seeing much more collaborative working, putting patients rather than organisations first, and that will make a significant difference to the quality of care for local people."
Pictured are the Teledermoscopy team accepting their award from MC Lenny Henry.
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Notes to editors:
Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for commissioning healthcare for over 305,000 people living in Mole Valley, Epsom and Ewell, East Elmbridge, Dorking and surrounding areas. It is made up of 31 GP practices and buys healthcare from local hospitals, community services, social care, ambulance services, mental health care and any many other services for local people.
Created in 2016, the Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership (formerly known as the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership or STP) is a five-year plan outlining new ways of working between health and care teams in central and western Surrey, to ensure people using services, their families, carers and members of the public have access to the very best care and treatment, from GP practices and hospitals to mental health and social care services.
Surrey Heartlands covers the central and western parts of Surrey and serves around 850,000 people.
Ten organisations are working in partnership to help deliver our Sustainability and Transformation Plan and manage the area’s £1.3 billion health and care budget. More information on the Surrey Heartlands STP at: www.surreyheartlands.uk.