Headlines: July 9th, 2004

A groundbreaking scheme that allows people with mental health problems to maintain their independence has won a top award for giving more choice to health service patients. Norfolk & Waveney Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust beat three other projects as the first NHS Live Award for Patient Involvement was put to an audience vote at the awards ceremony.A total of 58 Health and Social Care Awards finalists were selected from a record number of applications, more than double the number received in 2003. The Norfolk and Waveney Trust won for its work to promote continuity of care for mental health service users, so they experience less disruption to their home routine. The service works closely with specialists in supported employment in order to enable patients to retain jobs, and with housing staff to develop crisis beds as an alternative to hospital. The team includes a Service User advisor.

The fourteen other winners included Clare Westwood, a Colorectal Nurse Practitioner from County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospitals Trust, who was named Nurse of the Year. She has worked with patients, surgeons and GPs to establish new outpatient facilities, reducing unnecessary delays for people with bowel problems.

The Queen Mother award for Care of Older People went to the Proactive Lifestyles group from Blackburn with Darwen, which works with older people to develop a non-medical approach to reducing falls, largely by encouraging them to be as active as possible through exercise as varied as horse riding, skiing, walking and salsa dancing. The judges said it was both fun and “very encouraging work with excellent results for older people”