National awards win for NHS in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
An initiative to improve diagnosis and treatment of urine infections in older people and reduce the use of antibiotics has won a national award.
The computerised system, which was developed by NHS prescribing and computer experts in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, won in the category for Utilising and Driving Technology Innovation at the PrescQIPP Awards. The winners were announced at the PrescQIPP Annual Event held in Nottingham on Wednesday 17th October 2018.
The system also went on to win Silver in the Best Overall Innovation project category, which was voted for by audience members at yesterday’s event.
PrescQIPP is a not-for profit organisation that works to improve medicines-related care to benefit patients, including the sharing of innovation and good practice. For the winner of the Utilising and Driving Technology category, the judges were looking for the use of technology to improve the use of medicines. The urine infections project won because it delivered impact which is sustainable, is easily replicated by others and because it involved a number of different elements, which all had a common goal.
Dr Paul Danaher, GP and prescribing lead for Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “In just one year, this new system, along with other initiatives, has contributed to a 33% reduction locally in the number of prescriptions for Trimethoprim, which is an antibiotic that is often given to patients aged over 70 with suspected urine infections.
This is an important achievement because the over-prescribing of antibiotics leads to infections becoming resistant to these drugs, so that they are harder to treat, so we are keen to do everything we can to reduce the use of antibiotics when they are not really needed.”
Urine infections are more common in older people and can lead to complications if not treated correctly. Previously, urine dipsticks were used for diagnosing infections but these are not sufficiently reliable and led to many people being given antibiotics unnecessarily.
The prescribing teams at the three CCGs in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, worked with the Leicestershire Health Informatics Service and pharmacists based in local care homes to come up with a solution. Together they developed computer-based guidance for GPs, to help them make an accurate diagnosis when an older patient was suspected of having a urine infection. The system then gives advice on what medication to prescribe, taking into account the personal needs of each individual patient, including any allergies that they may have.
At the same time, the team developed guidance for care home staff, to help them gather all the relevant facts about each patient’s symptoms, to help GPs make a diagnosis. The system also provides practical advice on how to prevent urine infections in older patients in the future.
Dr Paul Danaher added: “Winning this award highlights the dedication and passion of our teams locally to drive this important issue forward and to safeguard antibiotics for the future for everyone. I would like to thank every member of staff who contributed to this project, which has made such a difference for some of our most vulnerable patients.”