Innovative Coventry ICS team’s work earns top award - The Coventry Observer

Innovative Coventry ICS team’s work earns top award

Coventry Editorial 25th Nov, 2023   0

THE COVENTRY and Warwickshire Integrated Care System (ICS) has won the ‘Performance Recovery Award’ in the 2023 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards.

The accolade was awarded for the ICS’ work to improve the life expectancy of people with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) and in recognition of their efforts to reduce the difference in life expectancy for people with SMI compared to the rest of the population.

This is known as the mortality gap and currently stands at 15 to 20 years.

The ICS introduced an approach which aims to help prevent people with SMI dying earlier than they should due to preventable and treatable physical health conditions.

This involves offering personalised support to individuals with SMI, including making them aware they are eligible for a free annual physical health check.

There have also been two new services developed – a ‘virtual hub’ and a mobile unit to make vital information and support as accessible as possible.

Dr Angela Brady, Chief Medical Officer of Coventry and Warwickshire ICB, said: “A massive congratulations to everyone involved in delivering the approach to annual physical health checks for people with Severe Mental Illness for winning the ‘Performance Recovery Award’ at the 2023 HSJ Awards.

“The team have rightly been recognised for their fantastic work that has seen a significant increase in the amount of people living with severe mental illness who are accessing vital annual health checks.

“These checks enable health issues to be identified early and treatment started sooner which ultimately leads to better health outcomes.”

She added the accolade was testament to the hard work and dedication which had made the approach a success.

The work undertaken by the ICS led to the percentage of people on the SMI register receiving physical health checks increase from 10.4 per cent in June 2021 to 67.8 per cent in March 2023.

This put the total above the national target of 66 per cent set out in the NHS Long-Term Plan.

Excellent partnership working across the health and care system in Coventry and Warwickshire was vital to make this change.

Among the organisations involved in delivering the project were primary and secondary care, mental health teams at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, VCSE organisations, the Integrated Care Board, local authorities and NHSE.

Key to the success of this work has been engagement with individuals with SMI and their families.

Bosses said, rather than focusing on numbers or targets, the team focused on ensuring the individuals who accessed services were seen as people with real lives and real experiences. This allowed them to understand their needs and adjust the services accordingly.

There has also been significant input to the approach from clinicians and staff who deliver the service, meaning that everyone involved has had the opportunity to shape what it looks like.

Dr Brady said: “It has not always been easy, but the commitment of everyone involved in making a positive impact on the lives of those with SMI has made the improvements we’ve seen possible.

“By sticking to the clear messages from our population involved in the design, staff in our different organisations have been able to come together and deliver in the most accessible and meaningful way.

“Thank you to everyone who has been involved throughout the implementation of this approach.

“It is an excellent example of the difference we can make when health and care organisations work together to improve the health and wellbeing of our local population.”

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