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The BMJ Awards 2018: Mental Health Team of the Year

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1657 (Published 16 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1657
  1. Nigel Hawkes, freelance journalist, London, UK
  1. nigel.hawkes1{at}btinternet.com

Improving access to services is a common theme among the shortlisted teams, finds Nigel Hawkes

Clinicians’ safety dashboard

Users of mental health services with worsening physical or mental health can easily slip through the net. An appointment being missed could be a warning sign, but it is unlikely to be noticed unless reliable systems exist to flag it up. NAViGO, a social enterprise company based in Grimsby, has a contract to deliver mental health services for the population of north east Lincolnshire, an area with the highest suicide rate in the country.

“We tackled this by designing a way of flagging up service users whose profile indicates they may be at risk,” says Lisa Denton, head of performance and business support at the company. Data from the electronic patient records are used to create a “dashboard” accessible to doctors, psychiatrists, community mental health nurses, and others. Updated daily, the dashboard displays in a quickly accessible form data about potentially vulnerable service users.

A second use is to keep track of physical health. “We know that people who are mentally ill also lead shorter lives” she says. “They die prematurely, mostly from physical conditions. So it’s important to be sure that they are getting regular health checks.”

Since the dashboard went into use, results show that patients are seen more regularly and followed up quickly if they miss an appointment. The time taken to follow up a missed appointment has fallen from 40 days to four, while the proportion of service users having physical health checks on time has risen from 44% to 82%. Pressure on the crisis service has diminished. Costs were minimal because the system uses data already routinely collected for the NHS.

High impact user team

Some patients attend the emergency department at University Hospitals Bristol 60 times a year, costing £30 000 (€35 000; $43 000) each …

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