We caught up with the Nurse/Nursing Team of the Year Award shortlist, ahead of this year’s General Practice Awards ceremony to be held on 8 December in London.
The second entry under the spotlight from this year’s shortlist of seven is the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust’s PCN nursing team.
The PCN team at the trust puts both patient care and service effectiveness at the heart of its projects. Having identified gaps within primary care services – such as some GP practices being fully supported by nursing staff compared to others with relatively few staff – a range of measures were taken, including increasing the ANP workforce as well as training, upskilling and progression for nursing staff, and introducing a primary care nurse support team. The latter was able to take responsibility for Covid vaccinations, vitamin B12 injections, cervical screening, wound care and other services, working weekends and late evenings across four practices.
The team works closely with 17 care homes across Wolverhampton, alongside supporting all patients reaching the end of their life, those that are housebound and those with a learning disability. Training for care home staff and support has been provided, and an enhanced health in care home (EHCH) service was introduced, which also delivers the GP home visiting service.
In addition to this was the introduction of dedicated mental health and sexual health nurses, and multiple long-term condition clinics. The team also hosted clinics at Solace, a facility for the homeless, for those with no designated address, as well as clinics for asylum seekers living in hotels.
Improving the patient experience within primary care has supported GP workload and helped to increase capacity so that patients can be seen by the right clinician at the right time.
Patients that might ordinarily see a GP for many services can now see a nurse or ANP to assist with their condition. They can also prescribe and have been upskilled in different areas.
The nurse-led care home team provides weekly ward rounds to the care homes registered with the PCN and has supported care home staff and patients to prevent hospital and ED admissions.
The work with Solace and asylum seekers within hotels has helped to reduce health inequalities and provided care to people who had previously been unable to access services, with interpreters available where necessary.
The introduction of three healthy ageing co-ordinators has provided support and assistance to patients with mild to moderate frailty.
The changes made have led to a stable and resilient nursing workforce, with very few leavers and vacancies due to training and progression opportunities, as well as wide involvement in projects and meetings.
Measurable data also shows increased patient access and satisfaction, and a decrease in complaints regarding access.
Last year, Wales-based general practice nurse Janette Morgan won the Practice Nursing Award after demonstrating her impact on chronic disease management in her locality.
What they said
A spokesperson commented: ‘Patients are at the centre of everything our nurses do. Our nurses pride themselves on their exceptional teamwork, support they offer to all their patients, high standards of care delivered and ensuring resilience across the nine practices to improve access. This is all achieved by their sheer determination and dedication to their role and the passion to upskill themselves and update their knowledge to support patients with various conditions.
‘They are also very passionate about supporting student nurses and increasing their exposure to different areas, showcasing the work that takes place within primary care and sharing their knowledge and expertise to allow these students to develop themselves and to increase a students desire to become a future practice nurse and ensure the resilience within this profession. We have Health Care Assistants and Nurse Associates themselves undertaking a Registered Adult Nursing Degree, one to qualify shortly and a couple of our experienced Registered Nurses undertaking the Advanced Clinical Practitioner course.
‘With regards to health inequalities, the nursing team have been working weekends to support patient access and support our asylum seekers creating additional clinics for vaccinations, cervical screening, NHS Health Checks and long term conditions.
‘We have nurses who also attend an organisation called Solace which supports our homeless patients who they provide care to alongside one of our GPs. Our Enhanced Care Home Team (nurse led) provide support to the care homes registered within our PCN on a daily basis, providing advice, completing ReSPECT documents and care plans, assessing patients, prescribing medication all to reduce hospital admissions.’