Working Together to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Supporting the NHS workforce to develop skills and drive improvement is one of the HIN’s top priorities. As part of this we set up the Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention Fellowship and now we’re sharing guidance to help other organisations looking to run similar programmes. Sophie Mizen, Project Manager for the Fellowship Programme, writes about what we learnt from running the programme and how you help spread the word.

We set up the Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention Fellowship to address an area which is a top priority for the NHS. There are six million people in the UK with CVD and taking action to prevent it is the best way of reducing harm and saving lives. With a total cost to the NHS of £16bn per year, it’s also a more efficient way to tackle the problem than treating CVD at a later stage.

CVD Fellowship Stats

  • 85 participants from all 12 south London boroughs
  • 19 projects in hypertension impacting 21 GP surgeries
  • 14 projects in lipids impacting 22 GP surgeries
  • Three projects in familiar hypercholesterolaemia impacting seven GP surgeries
  • Four projects in atrial fibrillation impacting eight GP surgeries
  • 98 per cent of participants feel more confident in delivering care to patients at risk of CVD
  • 96 per cent are more confident in supporting their colleagues with CVD care
  • 95 per cent think patients at risk of CVD have benefited as a result

The Fellowship is one of a number of collaborative learning opportunities provided by the HIN to develop skills in the workforce and support the delivery of improvement projects aligned to health and care priorities. This supports our objectives of developing the skills needed to power health and care systems of the future, as well as making an immediate positive impact in areas of need.

The CVD Prevention Fellowship ran between April and November 2022, and included clinical webinars from specialists in the field, and collaborative quality improvement (QI) sessions where fellows could gain new skills, share learning and work on their own QI projects. The Fellowship was open to all health care professionals in primary care in south London.

Running the programme presented some challenges – not least because the number of participants was higher than we expected with over 100 initially expressing interest! We also know that clinicians tend to have very limited time, and while the Fellowship was free to join, we were not able to fund back-fill for time taken out of work. As such we had to keep the time commitment to a minimum, and were flexible in our approach to collecting progress updates.

We also adapted our approach to communication channels as we went. Our used of continuous feedback helped us listen to Fellows' needs and adapt the programme accordingly. As such, we switched our focus from quality improvement theory to practical troubleshooting when we realised this would be more beneficial to the Fellows and a more productive use of their time. We also incorporated some additional sessions such as a webinar on behaviour change in CVD and a drop-in clinic with a specialist going through lipids case studies.

The response to the fellowship was overwhelming, with over 80 fellows being upskilled in various areas of CVD and quality improvement. The fellows were required to deliver an improvement project in their practice/primary care network, to apply their new skills and knowledge. As part of the programme 40 quality improvement projects collectively impacting a total of 63 GP practices, representing all 12 boroughs in south London.

Patients positively responded to the work and we received some great feedback on the impact the quality improvement projects had on an individual level:

Thanks for giving me the information about statins. I did not realise that statins had anything to do with protecting the heart. I just thought it was to reduce cholesterol which I have been trying to do by good diet and exercise. Although sometimes I like to enjoy myself a little and eat the unhealthy stuff, I take my atorvastatin daily and I have not felt any side effects. Looking forward to the next blood test.

You can find out more about the patient experience in our case study pack which includes information on all the projects.

Throughout the programme feedback was received on the beneficial impact of education and training. A final feedback survey revealed that 98 per cent of fellows felt more confident delivering care to people at risk of CVD, and 96 per cent said they are supporting colleagues more with CVD prevention. Most importantly, 95% per cent said their at-risk patients have benefited from what they learnt. We also received great feedback from participants – you can find out more in the video below.

We learnt a lot from running the programme and wanted to share this to make it easier for anyone else thinking of running a similar programme. That’s why we’ve put together a guide outlining our approach, learnings and what we would do differently next time. Please share with any individuals or organisations who might be interested.

Find out More

Find out more about the Fellowship and access the resources mentioned in this blog.

Find out more about the CVD Prevention Fellowship.

Hospital staff use ‘nudge theory’ to boost health and wellbeing during Covid-19

#OnlyHuman promo film

Featured on BBC London TV news and in the Revealing Reality-produced film above, King’s College Hospital (KCH) has adopted the HIN’s behavioural science workforce support campaign #OnlyHuman to help prevent staff burnout caused by the pressures of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Key statistics

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust employs over 11,000 staff.

Hundreds of staff at King’s College Hospital have embraced ‘nudge theory’ to help protect their wellbeing during the pandemic.

The hospital has become the first to adopt a workforce-wide campaign called #OnlyHuman that uses behavioural insights to prompt frontline staff to take action that helps protect their physical and mental wellbeing. The move comes after King’s trialled the campaign last year and emergency and critical care teams reported a positive impact during a highly challenging period during the pandemic.

The campaign takes a peer-to-peer approach to prompt staff, who sometimes struggle to identify
signs of stress in themselves, to spot early signs of strain within colleagues and use these tools to then take simple actions. These include check in with colleagues regularly to make sure they’re taking breaks, drinking enough water, implementing brief huddles before and after shifts and simply showing kindness to each other.

Behavioural experts maintain that if staff can are prompted to use these behaviours, this creates a ripple effect because social cues reinforce the behaviours and embed them into the workforce.

Devised at pace over eight weeks in response to Covid-19, behavioural insight specialists worked in conjunction with healthcare professionals across multiple trusts to identify key themes to address. The themes included: Checking in, Recharging, Managing Uncertainty, Warming up and down and Kindness.

This was a joint project between behavioural research specialists Revealing Reality and the NHS’s Health Innovation Network, funded by The Health Foundation.

Dr Claire McDonald, Principal Clinical Psychologist and Lead Psychologist for Staff Support at King’s College Hospital, said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented time for our frontline health and care staff. Staff have worked tirelessly to care for patients including those who have been critically ill. There is also the broader context of fear and uncertainty about the risks and evolving situation, coupled with an erosion of our natural ways of coping due to restrictions.

“This understandably takes a toll, as we are ‘Only Human’. That’s why we rolled out the campaign, as one strand of our KCH staff support offer, to encourage staff to look after themselves and each other through various tips and simple measures. We brought the campaign into our Wellbeing Hubs and many teams and departments including Emergency and Critical Care. To provide the very best care to patients our staff first need to be well resourced. Extra levels of stress require extra levels of self-care and looking out for each other.”

KCH’s Christine Brown Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Team Leader Mairead Trant said:

“I think this is a fantastic initiative to help frontline staff cope with the emotional strain that sometimes comes with the work we do. It’s important that we take time to look after ourselves and each other and reflect on what happens each day.

“By taking time to talk to someone you trust, it can help greatly to ease the stress and improve mental wellbeing. This initiative really focuses on this theme and will have huge health benefits for staff.”

“I think this is a fantastic initiative to help frontline staff cope with the emotional strain that sometimes comes with the work we do.”KCH’s Christine Brown Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Team Leader Mairead Trant.

Health Innovation Network Programme Director in the Patient Safety and Experience team Catherine Dale said:

“It’s great that King’s College Hospital staff found our #OnlyHuman campaign useful during Covid-19 and have since adopted it.

“When the pandemic hit we recognised the emotional toll it was taking on healthcare staff. Behavioural insights – also known as ‘nudge theory’ – encourage people to act in helpful ways. We applied this approach to develop a suite of materials to help healthcare professional support each other during these enormously challenging times.”

Further information

Download the #OnlyHuman resource pack today.

Download now

We're here to help

Contact our Patient Experience & Patient Safety team.

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Invitation to pitch: digital workforce transformation showcase

Invitation to pitch: digital workforce transformation showcase

We all know that the NHS is facing increasing demands on its services. Alongside the challenges of recruiting and retaining clinical professionals, there is a role for technology as a driver of productivity within the clinical workforce.

Working in collaboration with NHS England, and NHS Improvement, the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is running a showcase event for HR Directors exploring how technology can help NHS staff and employers to improve workforce productivity, recruitment and retention.

We are looking for ten companies to present their innovations, and in particular, innovations that are already being used by NHS employers and that meet workforce challenges including:

  • Recruitment / time to hire
  • HR transactional tasks / HR productivity
  • Workforce capacity management / clinical workforce productivity
  • Retention
  • Staff wellbeing (physical and mental health)

If selected, you will give a three-minute pitch to the audience on how they could adopt your innovation(s) in their organisations. You will also participate in our “world café” session to discuss your solution in more detail. We aim to help you generate warm leads by curating a receptive audience for workforce innovations.

We are looking for innovations that are already well-developed – this is not an event for innovations at the idea stage.

Please apply to take part by downloading and completing this short form and returning it to geraldine.murphy8@nhs.net by 5pm on Friday 10 May.

Event details

  • Date and time: Tuesday 11 June, 17:00 – 20:30
  • Venue: DAC Beachcroft, Walbrook Building, 25 Walbrook, EC4N 8AF

Agenda

  • 16:30-17:00 Registration
  • 17:00- 17:05 Welcome
  • 17:05-17:15 Clinical Productivity – Andy Howlett, Clinical Productivity Operations Director, NHS England / Improvement
  • 17:15-17:25  Can technology and artificial intelligence help to improve workforce productivity and create a more agile workforce? What can be done now? – Lesley Soden, Head of Innovation, Health Innovation Network
  • 17:25-17:35 NHS Trust Case Study: Lessons from transforming our medical workforce – Alfredo Thompson, HR Director, North Middlesex Hospitals NHS Trust; Dr Frances Evans, Medical Director, North Middlesex Hospitals NHS Trust
  • 17:35-17:50 Q&A
  • 17:50-18:20 Company pitches
  • 18:20-18:30 Close – Lesley Soden, Head of Innovation, Health Innovation Network
  • 18:30-20:00 Refreshments and networking

 

Health innovation body in south London scoops Financial Times/VitalityHealth healthiest workplace prize

Health innovation body in south London scoops Financial Times/VitalityHealth healthiest workplace prize

HIN has been recognised as one of Britain’s Healthiest Workplaces in the prestigious Financial Times/VitalityHealth Britain’s Healthiest Workplace competition.

 

 

A south London organisation that promotes the spread of health and care innovations into the NHS is the healthiest small new entrant in the prestigious Financial Times Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey.

 

The Health Innovation Network in south London, which employs 70 staff including nurses and paramedics, offers free yoga and mindfulness classes as well as ‘standing up’ desks, showers for running and cycling clubs. It also promotes a book club and discourages staff from engaging with emails after 7pm or at weekends.

 

“We want to make sure people switch off, so we have a curfew to help our staff recharge. You need to be with your family and friends in your free time,” says chief executive Tara Donnelly. Tara switched off digitally on holiday in August for two weeks.

 

“I’m delighted that we have won such a prestigious award and against such tough opposition. We take pride in promoting healthier living for all of our staff and encouraging colleagues in the NHS to do the same. Given we are in the business of innovating in health care and helping people take healthy decisions it is only right that we seek to do the same as an organisation.

 

“We are very proud of our staff at the Health Innovation Network. We need to look after them and keep them. It makes sense morally and it makes business sense,” she added.

 

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace was developed by VitalityHealth and is delivered in partnership with the Financial Times, RAND Europe, University of Cambridge and Mercer

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace aims to celebrate organisations that have an outstanding approach to their employees’ health and wellbeing and is one of the UK’s largest and most comprehensive surveys into employee health.