Shared Learning Awards 2012 winner announced
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has won this year's Shared Learning Award for its impressive work in improving the care of newborn babies with brain injury.
The team championed NICE guidance on therapeutic hypothermia for babies with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE).
HIE is a form of brain injury newborn babies can develop who are deprived of oxygen around and during the time of birth. The condition can lead to death or permanent disability.
Until recently, the only treatment for the condition has been supportive care. However, research has now shown that cooling the body temperature of babies within 6 hours of birth, a procedure called therapeutic hypothermia, can save a significant number of babies.
NICE's guidance on therapeutic hypothermia says the procedure is safe and effective in certain circumstances among carefully selected newborn babies, and can lower the chance of developing sever brain damage or death.
The East of England Neontatal Neuroprotection Project adopted the guidance to improve the care of babies with HIE, in a scheme that was ambitious and wide-ranging in scope.
Key aspects included engaging with families to understand the issues they had to deal with, and implementing a programme of training and education to ensure babies received care in accordance with NICE's guidance.
Improvements were observed in several areas following a range of tasks carried out by the team.
These included an increase in the compliance of monitoring body temperature from 0 to 100 per cent, a reduction in time of referral, earlier age at which cooling is started, reduced time in reaching the target temperature, and increasing the number of babies reaching target temperature within 6 hours to 100 per cent.
Dr Topun Austin, Consultant Neonatologist at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Cooling represents one of the most significant steps forward in the management of sickly born infants in recent years.
"The NICE guidance ensures that this treatment becomes a standard of care. But the real impact has been to use the guidance as a starting point to engage healthcare professionals and families into improving the whole patient journey, and hopefully improving the lives of these infants."
Sir Michael Rawlins praised the high level of both the runners-up when presenting the award at this year's annual conference in Birmingham.
Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust were recognised for developing a new pathway for service users with alcohol use disorders, following an expansion of its services.
And West Middlesex University Hospital were noted for implementing a ‘care bundle' of four evidence-based interventions to improve COPD patient outcomes, on discharge from the respiratory ward.
Sir Michael said all the entries were "superb demonstrations "of the implementation of NICE guidance.
16 May 2012