Devon Doctors celebrates bagging coveted national award

Devon Doctors celebrates bagging coveted national award

Devon Doctors is celebrating after seeing off strong competition from across the country to bag a coveted award.

The Exeter-based social enterprise triumphed in the NHS Support Service Initiative of the Year category at the Health Service Journal [HSJ] Value Awards in Manchester at the end of last month.

The awards were the culmination of a process which sought to recognise and celebrate outstanding improvement in care quality and efficiency by staff and organisations working within the NHS.

“Devon Doctors secured this accolade for making an outstanding contribution to ensure that the [healthcare] system works better,” said HSJ bureau chief Ben Clover.

“Every efficiency, ground-breaking innovation and improvement adds up to the same thing – better patient care. The amazing efforts of Devon Doctors and all our other award winners are supporting the NHS’s drive to be the most efficient health system in the world.”

Devon Doctors was lauded for the streaming service it introduced for the benefit of callers to Somerset’s NHS 111 service. In an attempt to alleviate winter pressures, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group [CCG] asked the not-for-profit organisation, which prides itself on Putting Patients First, to refine the mechanism for dealing with callers over the age of 75 or under the age of one.

The streaming service, which was conceived and operational within the space of just six weeks, sees two of the most-vulnerable cohorts of patients fast tracked into a new clinical assessment service, whereby they get to speak to a clinician in double-quick time. During the first month of the service, over 90 per cent of calls were answered within 60 seconds. Moreover, more than 600 patients who might otherwise have been conveyed to hospital in an ambulance were directed to more appropriate treatment options saving 10s of thousands of pounds in the process.

The judges were unrestrained in their praise for Devon Doctors’ efforts referring to all those who had contributed as ‘superheroes’, while enthusing about the improvements the service had delivered for patients and the scope that existed to replicate it elsewhere in the country.

“We are thrilled to receive national recognition for our work,” said Devon Doctors’ chief operating officer Ryan Hewitt. “Designing and launching a service in the timescale we did was quite a challenge and this success is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our team.”

The chair of Somerset CCG, Dr Ed Ford, said: “We know that the very young and very old are extremely vulnerable when they are unwell. The streaming service conceived and operated by Devon Doctors ensures they are able to access the treatment and care they need as soon as possible.

“The service is making a real difference to people in Somerset while also reducing the demands on other parts of the healthcare system. We are delighted that the hard work of Devon Doctors and its staff has been recognised.”