North West Ambulance Service wins national award for digital innovation in healthcare

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has been recognised with a national accolade at the inaugural HSJ Digital Awards, recognising outstanding contribution to healthcare.

The trust took home the ‘Enhancing Workforce Engagement, Productivity and Wellbeing Through Digital Award’ at the prestigious awards ceremony held at Manchester Central on 22 June 2023.

The awards celebrate the power of digital products, projects and services to transform care delivery, enhance efficiency, and improve patient outcomes.

NWAS was recognised for ‘Enhancing Workforce Engagement, Productivity and Wellbeing Through Digital’ was for NWAS’ implementation of smart solutions across its sites. This uses digital innovations to simplify outdated processes for staff using smart technology, which ultimately saves time for staff and improves patient safety.

Head of Clinical & Digital Innovation Matt Dugdale said, “This really is wonderful news and will undoubtedly be a huge ‘pat on the back’ for our amazingly hard-working and deserving team.

“Our staff always go above and beyond to improve patient outcomes and quality of service and care – and aligning with the HSJ Digital Awards programme really allows us to share our success as well as everything we’ve learnt through implementing our project.”

An impressive 314 entries were received for the HSJ Digital Awards 2023, with 164 projects and individuals making it to the final shortlist (from across 120 organisations).

NWAS was also nominated in the ‘digital clinical safety’ category, although unfortunately didn’t get the top prize. This was after recently implementing a new risk management solution to drive patient safety and transform how risk is managed across the organisation. The bespoke solution streamlines reporting into one accessible, innovative system which is used to capture and analyse data such as incident reports, legal reports, complaints, freedom of information requests and more.

Head of Risk and Assurance at NWAS, Jonathan Taylor, said, “This project has had a really powerful impact on both patient and staff safety, and it’s amazing for it to be given this national recognition, particularly against such high-quality nominees in the category. 

“We designed a system with a focus on delivering our vision ‘to deliver the right care, at the right time, in the right place, every time’. This is underpinned by providing high-quality inclusive care and working together with partners across the system and suppliers to shape a better future.

“Although we didn’t win the top prize, the nomination is fantastic recognition for the team.”

The judging panel was made up of a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community, including;

Ifan Evans (Executive Director, Digital Strategy, NHS Wales), Dr Nnenna Osuji (Chief Executive, North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust), Jonathan Cameron (Deputy Director – Digital Health and Care, Scottish Government), Ronke Adejolu, National Associate Chief Nursing Information Officer, NHS England), Masood Ahmed (CCIO, NHS Midlands) and Ananta Dave (Chief Medical Officer, Black Country and West Birmingham ICB).

HSJ editor Alastair McLellan added, “There’s little doubt that digital services and tech innovation is important to the future of the NHS and brings with it much promise for improved patient experience as well as cost efficiencies and staff morale.

“For several years, we’ve noticed that more and more projects – with digitisation at their core – were being entered into other Awards within the HSJ’s awards programme – and it increasingly felt that this emerging and important category needed an Awards ceremony of its own.

“So, what better opportunity to launch the HSJ Digital Awards than in the follow-up to NHS England’s recent Year of the Digital Profession. It was no surprise to us that the level and quality of entries in the inaugural HSJ Digital Awards were absolutely outstanding, presenting our panel of judges with some difficult decisions!”

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