We are a finalist in the 2023 HSJ Patient Safety Awards for our work with local hospital trusts to improve outcomes for ‘high impact users’ of emergency departments (ED).

Shortlisted in the ‘Urgent and Emergency Care Safety Initiative of the Year’ category, the SHarED (Supporting High impact users in Emergency Departments) programme was based on an approach developed at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and supported its adoption by all seven emergency departments across the West of England:

  • Bristol Royal Infirmary
  • Cheltenham General Hospital
  • Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
  • Great Western Hospital
  • Royal United Hospitals Bath
  • Southmead Hospital
  • Weston General Hospital.

In England, patients who attend emergency departments five or more times a year represent 2% of attendees but account for 11% of attendances. These patients are known as high impact users.

High impact users have often experienced extremely challenging situations in their lives. This can include violence, exploitation, alcohol and drug abuse, homelessness, chaotic life conditions, chronic pain, complex medical conditions, and mental health conditions.

The SHarED programme supported emergency department teams to introduce personalised care plans for high impact users. These plans enabled staff to engage with patients about their behaviour and needs, provided recommendations on how to interact with and care for patients, and promoted collaboration between different specialist teams across the health and care system for more integrated care.

A recent evaluation of SHarED by NIHR ARC West has shown it to be successful in reducing emergency department attendance by 33% and hospital admissions by 67% among these patients. SHarED successfully promoted better and more integrated care for high impact users and gave practical support to staff working in very difficult environments.

Rebecca Thorpe, Emergency Department Consultant at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, led the development of the SHarED approach. Rebecca said:

“This has been a fantastic project to be involved with. Multi-agency collaboration across the emergency departments in the region to improve support for our most vulnerable patients is wonderful to see.”

Clare Evans, Deputy Director of Service and System Transformation at the West of England AHSN said:

“We’re delighted that SHarED has been shortlisted for an HSJ Patient Safety Award. Spreading the high impact user model across the West of England has been an incredible achievement and it has been a truly collaborative effort by all of our local hospital trusts.

“Teams have developed a model that improves the care and experience for those who frequent emergency departments and supports staff to gain the confidence and competence to provide excellent care.”

A record-breaking 515 entries were received for the HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2023, which acknowledge the hard-working teams and individuals across the UK who are continually striving to deliver improved patient care.

The official awards ceremony will be held in Manchester on 18 September 2023, as part of the HSJ’s annual Patient Safety Congress.

HSJ Editor Alastair McLellan said:

“As always, it’s a pleasure at this stage of our lengthy judging process, to be able to offer my congratulations to the West of England AHSN, as the shortlisted finalists are revealed for this years’ HSJ Patient Safety Awards.

“Every one of the projects, trusts, teams and individuals who entered this year have truly demonstrated their skills in setting – and delivering – the highest of standards in healthcare excellence, presenting our venerable panel of judges with some difficult decisions.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming our finalists to the awards ceremony in September, where we’ll have a fantastic opportunity to come together and celebrate some really impressive achievements, whilst sharing experiences, best practice and learning from our colleagues working in a diverse range of roles across the healthcare sector.”


Posted on June 19, 2023

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