Accolade awarded for apprenticeship scheme

A team from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has won a top award after leading a training programme which has created more opportunities for people across the region to start careers in healthcare science. The Yorkshire and Humber Apprentice Implementation Group, which is chaired by Mandy Scott from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, picked up the first prize in the prestigious Shirley Fletcher Apprenticeship Award at the National Healthcare Awards, in recognition of the outstanding contribution it has made in developing the healthcare science workforce of the future.

Since the apprenticeship scheme has been running, more than 120 people have been offered apprenticeship positions, with 80% going on to achieve employment by the end of their placement.

Healthcare scientists are involved in 80% of all clinical decisions made in the NHS, helping to prevent, diagnose and treat a wide range of medical conditions.

Depending on their specialism staff within the healthcare science workforce can diagnose and help to investigate disease, guide treatment through the production of high quality images, undertake laboratory testing and ensure that medical equipment is working safely and correctly. They also undertake research and innovation and conduct a wide variety of clinical tests and treatments. Dr Harriet Crook, lead healthcare scientist for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This award not only recognises all of our amazing apprentices but also the team who have worked so hard to develop the talents of our apprentices and create a sustainable workforce that will provide stability for healthcare sciences in the region.”

Poole Hospital goes ‘virtual’

with new fracture clinic Poole Hospital fracture patients are to benefit from fewer hospital visits and shorter waiting times with a new ‘virtual’ fracture clinic. The scheme, the first in Dorset, provides an alternative to conventional fracture clinics and aims to improve patient experience and reduce waiting times by ensuring only those who need an appointment are given one in a timely manner. Previously, all patients seen at the Trust’s emergency department (ED) with a suspected fracture would have been referred to the hospital fracture clinic. But, often a face-to-face appointment is not needed as injuries heal. Now, ED patients have their injury immobilised in a splint or boot and those who require orthopaedic review are booked onto a virtual fracture clinic rather than automatically attending a traditional one. X-rays and patient notes are reviewed ‘virtually’ by an orthopaedic consultant and specialist physiotherapists who decide the best course of ongoing treatment, which could be a specialist fracture clinic appointment with a surgeon, a referral to physiotherapy, discharge to GP or even arrange an urgent admission in serious cases.

During the first month of the new 10 I WWW.CLINICALSERVICESJOURNAL.COM

Age discrimination: “No room for

complacency” In its latest report, the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC) is calling for greater awareness surrounding age inequalities in breast cancer care and treatment. Although age discrimination in the provision of health and care services was banned in the UK in 2012, there continue to be age-related discrepancies in the prevalence, treatment and outcomes experienced by people with breast cancer.

According to the report, evidence suggests that ageist attitudes, both on the part of older people themselves and on that of clinicians, may impact rates of diagnosis and the treatment that people with breast cancer receive. Adults aged 80 and above are more likely to receive a late diagnosis (23%) than those aged 60-79 (15%). Moreover, older people are less aware of the risks and signs of breast cancer. One in five women over 70 never self-check for symptoms, potentially due to the confusing signals that women over 70 are no longer called for routine screening. Older people may also experience practical barriers to diagnosis and treatment, such as health and social care needs linked to other conditions, or caring responsibilities. However, there continues to be a lack of data to effectively assess and monitor age discrimination in breast cancer. Indeed, a survey revealed that less than a third of English hospital Trusts collects data in full on patients with secondary breast cancer, which is particularly common in older people. Moreover, with NABCOP, the current data collection programme, due to come to an end in 2019, there is concern that data collection around age inequalities will become poorer in future. Kate Jopling, director of programmes at ILC,

Paula Reynolds, Nikki Kelsall, Kate Wallis and Simon Richards from the hospital’s virtual fracture clinic team

arrangements the hospital has reduced new outpatients appointments for fracture patients by 40%. Nikki Kelsall, consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon, said: “We designed this service around our patients to ensure they were only attending hospital when absolutely necessary and when they do come they are seeing the right person the first time. “We hope this new service will help us assess patients much sooner than was previously possible, as well as reduce the number of missed fracture appointments.”

argued: “The NHS has made good progress in improving breast cancer outcomes and in taking steps to address age inequalities. However, there can be no room for complacency. “Addressing gaps in the collection and sharing of data for research, service provision and service improvements will be vital to the effective assessment of whether older people with breast cancer receive equal treatment.”

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MAY 2019

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