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Feature BMJ Awards 2014

Gastroenterology Team of the Year

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 11 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2677
  1. Chris Mahony, freelance journalist
  1. 1London, UK
  1. chris.mahony{at}

The nominees for the gastroenterology team award have all improved services by making care more patient centred, finds Chris Mahony

Supported self help and management programme for inflammatory bowel disease

In 2012 Luton and Dunstable Hospital became the first in the UK to use a remote, web based programme to manage patients with stable inflammatory bowel disease. The innovation grew from a 10 year review of the trust’s treatment of the condition that showed the resource implications of treating around 2500 patients. With the aim of exploiting technology while improving education, community based care, and self management, the department began inviting hundreds of stable patients to transfer to its web based Supported, Self-Help And Management Programme (IBD-SSHAMP).

By using telephone clinics and personalised websites with direct access to the hospital specialists if needed, the department has avoided routine six monthly hospital clinic visits.

Around 400 patients had joined the system by autumn 2013. And it is expected that more than 800 people will be registered by the end of 2014, with the figure potentially rising to between 1200 and 1300. With fewer clinic appointments, that could result in annual savings of around £250 000 (€300 000; $420 000).

After assessing the cost-benefit analysis, the clinical commissioning group has provided funding for two additional inflammatory bowel disease nurses to help run the project.

Consultant gastroenterologist Matt Johnson, said: “This programme has empowered patients by supporting them to self care at home. We have done this while improving the efficiency of our overall service and improved our outpatient waiting times.”

Straight to test for lower gastrointestinal symptoms

The gastroenterology team at Barts Health NHS Trust adapted an existing pathway to ensure that almost all patients with lower gastrointestinal symptoms have endoscopy within weeks of referral rather than waiting for an appointment with a consultant.

Most patients referred to a consultant gastroenterologist outpatient clinic with such symptoms are booked for endoscopy. However, even …

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