Innovative Newcastle partnership wins national health sector award

An innovative partnership which aims to transform the health, wealth and wellbeing of residents and communities in Newcastle has won a prestigious national award.

Collaborative Newcastle scooped the Health and Local Government Partnership Award at the national HSJ Awards 2021 last night (Thursday 18 November) for its work to support care home residents and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Collaborative Newcastle is a partnership between Newcastle City Council, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Gateshead CCG, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle University and Northumbria University – working closely with Newcastle GP Services, the GP Federation for Newcastle, Primary Care Networks and the voluntary and community sector.

Unique in scope and scale, Collaborative Newcastle brings together these organisations to combine efforts, expertise and resources to achieve its aim of reducing inequalities and providing better opportunities for people who live in the city. The HSJ Award entry focussed on the partnership’s collective work to support care homes over the past 18 months.

Cllr Karen Kilgour, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council and Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we accelerated our joint-working across Collaborative Newcastle to ensure that we could protect the most vulnerable people in the city, including those in care homes, whilst maintainingourcore services.

“We worked together to create a Care Home Wraparound Support Team which was dedicated to providing the support, advice, treatment, care, training and equipment needed. The team was fundamental in helping shape local outbreak control planning – reviewing the data on local cases, sharing information and acting quickly to respond. And as soon as the vaccine became available, we developed a programme to support care homes. We completed first vaccinations to all eligible care home residents and staff ahead of schedule – a remarkable achievement which made national headlines. We’re incredibly proud of all the teams involved.”

Martin Wilson, Chief Operating Officer at Newcastle Hospitals said: “This award win is wonderful recognition for the staff and teams across our organisations. Collaborative Newcastle was conceived and developed prior to the pandemic and many joint-working practices were already in place. However, it would have been easy for partners to pause or pull away from the collaboration when Covid hit.

“Instead, we built on the foundations in place and accelerated our co-ordination, working more closely than ever as a result – this is a real testament to our people who have shown incredible leadership, resilience and commitment throughout the pandemic in order to support our residents and communities.”

Alison McDowell Director for Adult Social Care and Integrated Services at Newcastle City Council, said: “This is fantastic news and deserved recognition for a unique model that is bringing our shared expertise together for the good of the people of our city.”

Despite the demanding circumstances of the past 18 months, over 1,000 entries from across the country were received for this year’s HSJ Awards, with 205 organisations, projects and individuals making it to the final shortlist.

The judging panel was made up of a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community, including Sir Bruce Keogh (Chair, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT); Marie Gabriel CBE (Chair, NHS Race and Health Observatory); and former HSJ Trust of the Year winners Ann Marr OBE (Chief Executive, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals Trust) and Richard Mitchell (Chief Executive, Sherwood Forest Hospitals FT).

Following the award announcement, the judging panel shared the following feedback: “The judges were very impressed with this partnership which demonstrated the benefits of a mature longstanding partnership, focused on local health needs and tackling inequalities and the wider determinants of health.  The presenting team came across as uniquely well connected and a true joint partnership speaking well as a collective. It was wonderful to hear that at an executive level there was a recognition of the need to invest more in the voluntary sector to underpin these changes working with communities.”

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