A project led by a healthcare professional from Bute has won a prestigious UK award.
At an award ceremony at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London on Friday April 15 Dr Christine McArthur received an Advancing Healthcare Award on behalf of her colleague Lynne Siddiqui and their NHS Highland team.
Their ‘Making the Right Call for a Fall’ initiative won the “improving quality: measuring and demonstrating impact” category sponsored by the Scottish Government. The award was presented to Dr McArthur by Tracy McInnes, associate chief health professions officer at the Scottish Government.
Dr McArthur, NHS Highland coordinator, prevention and management of falls, said: “It’s fantastic that all the team’s hard work has been recognised by this award.”
She added: “It was amazing. It was like being at the Oscars. I think I just floated up to the platform to receive the award on behalf of NHS Highland.”
After receiving her award, Dr McArthur met former Tomorrow’s World presenter, writer and broadcaster, Vivienne Parry, OBE, who hosted the ceremony.
Dr McArthur and Lynne Siddiqui, the lead community physiotherapist on the programme, won the award for their work in Highland and Argyll and Bute that prevented older people who have had a fall being taken to hospital unnecessarily.
Falling at home is a distressingly frequent event for many older people in Scotland, with around half of the over-80s experiencing a fall in any one year and about a third of over 65-year-olds.
The programme helped to tackle the problem of unnecessary urgent transfers to hospital causing stress and disruption to elderly people while possibly not being of any benefit to them.
The aim of the project was to support people to remain at home safely after a fall – and it saw monthly conveyance rates reduce from 70 per cent to around 50 per cent.
A key element has been involving the Scottish Ambulance Service, especially since they know that there will now be a full community care team assessment within 24 hours.
The initial project work in Argyll and Bute brought all community health care and service providers together. A number of sites tested a system where ambulance teams had a single point of access to integrated health and social care services.
The programme was then rolled out to include Inverness, Mid and East Ross, Nairn and Caithness. Now it is planned that all other districts in NHS Highland will be implementing their own local pathways.
Christine said: “I felt really honoured that we won this award. It is really motivating, and I am looking forward now to implementing the programme across the rest of NHS Highlands.”