Innovative Milton Keynes project shortlisted for national healthcare award

Partners of the Milton Keynes High Intensity User Scheme
Partners of the Milton Keynes High Intensity User Scheme

A local health and social care collaborative is celebrating after their partnership programme was shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Milton Keynes High Intensity User Scheme has been named as a finalist in the "Improvement in Emergency and Urgent Care" category of the 2018 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards. The award recognises and celebrates initiatives that improve the patient experience in emergency and urgent care, through better efficiency, environment, care and staff morale.

"High intensity users" are classed as people who use health and other services much more frequently than would be normally expected. In 2015, just 33 people accounted for 1020 attendances at Accident and Emergency and 306 admissions to Milton Keynes University Foundation Trust hospital. Many were also high users of ambulance services. It was recognised that this high use was often due to difficult and complex personal needs which current services had not been able to meet.

A pilot scheme was set up, including representation from NHS Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group, Thames Valley Police (TVP), Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (MKUHFT), South Central Ambulance Services Trust (SCAS), Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL), Age UK MK, Milton Keynes Council (MKC), Compass, Milton Keynes Urgent Care Services and Primary Care.

Following the introduction of the scheme, the 22 people who initially engaged needed to make emergency calls much less frequently than before:38% reduction in 999 calls, a 29% reduction in A&E attendances and 22% reduction in emergency admissions in the first three months. Some clients also made fewer calls to the police and TVP became partners in co-funding the service.

Essential to the scheme has been the dedicated support provided by social inclusion charity People potential Possibilities (P3), including coaching and guidance from link workers and a bespoke support plan to ensure people’s needs were met through appropriate local services, thereby reducing their use of emergency services.

The most important outcome has been the positive feedback, with one service user commenting that his link worker was ‘the first person to fully understand my needs’.

GP and Chair of Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Nicola Smith said: "I am really proud of this project and the team who provide it. People were accessing services on an exceptionally frequent basis but still not having their needs met .Our project has undertaken to work with these service users to understand their individual issues and support them to regain control of their lives. The scheme just goes to show that, by working innovatively in partnership, we can really improve people’s lives. I wish the whole team well at the awards."

Jennifer Kralj, operations manager at P3 Charity, added: "The P3 team have shown great dedication and integrity, working creatively with this client group. They have helped to make homes safer, improved mental health and wellbeing, supported people to engage with community groups to reduce social isolation and acted as a consistent trusted adult and advocate.

"We are very proud that this service has been nominated for a HSJ Award, which recognises the value that the third sector can bring in reducing demand on emergency care and improving the quality of outcomes for patients."

The winners will be announced in London on November 21, 2018.