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Southend Integrated healthcare for the homeless initiative is a 2021 HSJ award finalist.

18 Nov Southend Integrated healthcare for the homeless initiative is a 2021 HSJ award finalist.

An initiative to support some of Southend’s most vulnerable residents, spearheaded by a group of GP practices in Southend, has been selected as a finalist in the prestigious HSJ Awards 2021 to be held later this week (November 18th).

The Southend West Central Primary Care Network (PCN) stood out amongst tough competition from hundreds of other exemplary applicants, the ‘Southend Integrated Healthcare for Homeless’ initiative was selected based on ambition, visionary spirit and the demonstrable positive impact that the initiative has had on both patient and staff experiences.

The initiative is in the finals for ‘Primary Care Innovation of the Year,’ providing better joined-up care for those affected by homelessness in Southend. The awards recognise the outstanding contribution to healthcare in what has been an exceptional and challenging period across the sector.

Southend GP, Dr Haroon Siddique, who works within the Southend West Central Primary Care Network, led the development of the initiative, supported by Edel Spruce an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, to better support the health and care needs of some of Southend’s most vulnerable people.

Dr Haroon Siddique, Southend GP lead from Southend West Central Primary Care Network, said: “We are so thrilled to be a finalist in the ‘Primary Care Innovation of the Year’ award. This initiative demonstrates how partnership working can make a real difference in the lives of some of Southend’s most vulnerable people.

Since January, we have seen hundreds of homeless people supported with a variety of medical problems, including a new diagnosis of liver cancer. We have delivered hundreds of COVID-19 vaccinations and facilitated access to wider services. This means multiple homeless people have had health interventions which they normally wouldn’t have had access to.

I’d like to thank the local NHS, HARP and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council for helping to make this happen.”

The initiative has resulted in a 9% average drop in admissions to hospital and based on the cost of ambulance attendance and an average 5.4 day stay in and cute hospital delivered a saving of around £75K per month of precious NHS funds.

In addition, 173 COVID-19 vaccinations given to the most socially excluded in our society has prevented further spread of the virus and avoided further unnecessary hospitalisations.

Primary Care Networks (PCNs) offer a new way of organising care, bringing together all health and care services in a local area to deliver more joined-up care to local populations. The ‘Southend Integrated Healthcare for Homeless’ initiative, is one example of this new approach.

The aim of the initiative is to reduce health inequalities for rough sleepers, to support them in not only recovering from life on the streets, but to also help them lead more meaningful lives.

Partners from the NHS, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, food banks, soup kitchens, hostels, outreach teams, hospital, mental health and substance misuse providers have collaborated to build this new integrated service. The initiative has already seen positive outcomes by maximising opportunities to deliver preventative health initiatives, such as Hepatitis C, respiratory, blood pressure and COVID-19 testing. Word-of-mouth from clients has consequently attracted others who were unsure or previously hesitant in accessing healthcare services. This in turn has helped to reduce avoidable use of crisis services while ultimately reducing premature deaths.

Anthony McKeever, Executive Lead for the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership and Joint Accountable Officer for the Mid and South Essex CCGs said:

“This recognition really does reflect the collaborative efforts and dedication of our colleagues who have worked so hard to successfully deliver the ‘Southend Integrated Healthcare for Homeless’ initiative. The approach is truly collaborative, building relationships between physical and mental health, primary and specialist care and health and social care supporting ‘national ambitions outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.

This initiative is part of wider plans across mid and south Essex that will see health and care partners working together to better support those at risk of ill health, improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities through more personalised care.

Knowing that there was such stiff competition this year really does make this announcement feel like a wonderful achievement for everyone involved, and the nomination has been a tremendous boost to staff.”

Despite the demanding circumstances of the past 18 months, over 1,000 entries have been received for this year’s HSJ Awards, with 205 organisations, projects and individuals making it to the finals. The volume and standards of applications has been a true testament to those health and social care staff, who continue to push outstanding work and transformational projects across the sector.

The judging panel was once again 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).

HSJ editor Alistair McLellan, comments “On behalf of all my colleagues, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Southend West Central Primary Care Network on being nominated in the category of ‘Primary Care Innovation of the Year’ in this year’s HSJ Awards. The applications we receive always present our panel of judges with a very difficult task as the standard is unfailingly high and the breadth of innovation and passion for patient care is always so inspiring.

“This year, we really have been overwhelmed with the level of entries, particularly when set against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and the huge challenges faced by our health and social care workforce.

“We are therefore looking forward to welcoming all our finalists to the live ceremony in November and joining us in celebrating their incredible achievements and commitment to excellence.”

The full list of nominees for the HSJ Awards 2021 can be found on:

The selected winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at Evolution, London on Thursday, 18 November 2021