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Funding innovation in Gastroenterology

Written by Nigel Gregory- Director of Development

Once in a while I’m allowed to leave my office to celebrate the success of a long-standing project with medical and support staff.

This month I joined staff at our Gastroenterology department at City Hospital to celebrate a revolutionary new project funded by Nottingham Hospitals Charity’s Innovation Fund. The Gastroenterology Direct and Complete Project was started in 2014 to deliver earlier diagnosis and enhanced treatment for patients with long-term liver and digestive conditions. Nottingham Hospitals Charity funded £225,000 for the project, and I’m pleased to say that it was money well spent.

Previously, patients with gastroenterological disorders had been treated on a variety of wards but the aim of the Direct and Complete Project was to integrate outpatients’ services into one location at City Hospital.

I met with medical staff who had seen the considerable benefits to patient care: a new appointment system which prevents the need for multiple hospital visits for different types of treatment, a new testing process which allows earlier diagnosis of some disorders, and greater support for patients to self-manage their conditions when they are at home. I also met patients and patient representatives who had enjoyed the benefits of receiving all of their treatment in one place, and the peace of mind that comes with being treated by medical professionals who know them and their story.

It was great hearing from Patient Representative, Richard Pratt, who talked at the event about patients’ involvement in the project from the beginning:

“One of the things patients were telling us was that being put in a bed on a ward for their day case treatment was enough to make them feel ill!  As a Patient Representative I passed this on and now we have the same treatment but people are sat in specialist chairs rather than beds for their treatment. It’s made all the difference.”

Funding innovation within the NHS is incredibly important. I’m proud that funding from Nottingham Hospitals Charity means that patients now have access to improved facilities, reduced waiting times and more targeted support. The event made clear that our investment in the Project is already having a big impact for people with debilitating stomach and liver conditions.

Nurses and doctors involved in the project announced some encouraging news: over 780 patients attended the new Gastroenterology unit over the last year and the duration of their hospital visits has reduced by 50%. Patient feedback has also been impressive, with 100% of patients rating the new unit’s overall care as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.

Such has been the success of the project that the system has been taken up by local Clinical Commissioning Groups as best practice and other departments are looking at duplicating this best practice.  So the legacy impact of this project is significant and it is fantastic to deliver funding to support NHS innovation that benefits patients and staff, and saves everyone a lot of time and money!


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