Innovation in rural health and social care – Keith Bentham
As commissioners gathered at the National Children and Adult Services Conference last week, Keith Bentham highlighted the work Better Care Together (Morecambe Bay Health Community) vanguard (@BCT MorecambeBay) is doing to improve health and social care for residents living in remote communities.
We like to think that our area is unique. We have the beautiful Lake District, the historic city of Lancaster, the industrial locality of Barrow-in-Furness and geographically isolated communities such as Millom.
Millom is a 45 minute drive from the nearest A&E department. There’s just one road and if that is blocked there are real issues that affect whether the 8,500 people who live in and around the area can get access to healthcare.
It is not alone in being geographically isolated in our area, but it’s probably the most extreme example. As a result, we have trialled a number of new ideas in this community in a number of different settings – making sure that they achieve what the community want, before we then provide them in a wider area.
The unique thing here is that the community works as equal partners with the health service in the Millom Alliance. We have a ready-made group of people able to tell us when we get things right – and when we are wrong!
As an integrated primary and acute system (PACS) vanguard, one of the first links we have made is a high definition telemedicine link between the GP surgery in Millom and the A&E department in Barrow-in-Furness.
This means that when a GP isn’t sure whether a patient needs intensive treatment or can be treated in the community – they can call through and have an A&E specialist examine the patient. The High Definition (HD) camera is so good that the clinician on the other end can see detailed close-ups of the patient in order to help them diagnose. This link – and a similar one to the GP out of hours service can save patients a long journey and also help prevent the town’s ambulance being unavailable for long periods of time – potentially life-saving.
The link to the GP out of hours means that patients over the 1,000 square miles that Morecambe Bay covers, can have access to expert opinions without having to travel further than their nearest healthcare building.
One patient who has used the system said it was as good as a face to face meeting – and that’s the standard we’re aiming for.
The most recent development was to link Haverigg prison to the A&E department. Each time a prisoner needs treatment – two guards have to travel with them and wait with them until they return. Getting access to expert advice over the telehealth link saves time, money, and reduces the risk of offenders being out of prison.
Patient and public engagement and clinical buy-in were crucial in getting these ideas off the ground, and we have now taken it one step further by holding a full virtual outpatient clinic. The clinician was on a completely different site to the patients but they all said it was a positive experience. Thanks to early positive results, more are now planned.
The focus groups we held were important too. They allowed us to tailor the project to meet what residents wanted to see – and two are now working with our team on a new, virtual waiting room project which will ultimately allow video consultations with health care professions to take place from the patient’s home.
Friday was a great opportunity to tell people about what we’re doing, and I’ll be following up with Paul Mckay, from Nottinghamshire County Council who was particularly interested in these future plans as they will negate the need for patients to travel at all to see a health professional in some cases.
So we’re already seeing the benefits of utilising new technology – the reduction in travel is happening. The key to this was ensuring that we engaged with the public and clinicians and took the time to find the ways to overcome barriers to acceptance. I really feel we really are witnessing the future of healthcare.
Keith Bentham is a Senior Programme and Project Manager with over twenty five years’ experience of working for and with the NHS. His Health career began as an Information Systems Manager at a hospital in Manchester, and has since progressed through various pre-sales, project and programme management roles.
In December 2008, he was a medallist at the prestigious British Computer Society Project Manager of the Year Awards for his work in the Lorenzo Release 1 Project.
Within the last five years has worked in a very senior capacity within the Health Informatics team in University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. He made a significant contribution across a complex array of business as usual functions within the Trust.
During this time, has demonstrated an ability to manage multiple initiatives within the Programme and bring them all to a successful conclusion on time with complimentary benefits giving the Trust much more than the sum of the constituent project parts.
An excellent team leader and at the same time team player demonstrating exceptional levels of people skills and commitment, that can make the difference between success and failure.
Adept at rising to the challenge of new and exciting projects as well as the thorny difficult ones, his written and verbal presentation skills are second to none. He can be relied upon to do whatever is required to get the job done from representing the project overseas at short notice to working 24hrs to ensure a specific deliverable is a success, allowing the project to progress, a dedicated professional.
Latest News from
National Heroes Service: GPs told ‘our veterans need you’20/05/2019 14:15:00
NHS chiefs have urged family doctors to enlist in a scheme improving care for thousands of armed forces veterans and their families.
NHS England to fund first ever treatment for children with rare muscle-wasting condition16/05/2019 09:15:00
NHS England will provide a promising new treatment which can prolong the lives of children with a rare genetic condition after negotiating a deal with the manufacturer.
NHS funds tech to protect prostate cancer patients during radiation treatment14/05/2019 09:15:00
An innovation that can reduce the side-effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer patients by over 70 per cent will be rolled out across the NHS, as part of the Long Term Plan to put cutting-edge treatments at the heart of people’s care.
Army of NHS experts brought in to care homes to tackle over-medication13/05/2019 09:15:00
An army of experts have been recruited by NHS England to help prevent care home residents being given too many medicines as part of a package of measures to improve older people’s health and care in the NHS Long Term Plan.
NHS England strikes deal to make innovative Multiple Sclerosis drug available, paving the way for NICE recommendation09/05/2019 15:47:00
Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) will have routine access to a drug that can slow disability under a deal struck between NHS England and the manufacturer Roche, paving the way for its approval by NICE.
NHS England funds £2million to boost system-wide leadership development09/05/2019 09:15:00
NHS England has funded a £2million programme to help 23 areas kick-start or boost leadership development activities to support and inspire workforce in health systems across England from GPs, consultants and therapists to nurses, social workers and managers.
NHS funds handheld headache-busting device as part of Long Term Plan08/05/2019 09:15:00
A device that can zap away excruciating headaches is to receive NHS England funding from a scheme that helps to spread the use of world-leading technology across the health service.
NHS Stroke action will save hundreds of lives07/05/2019 15:38:00
A new £9 million programme to spot heart conditions earlier will save at least 200 lives and offer protection to thousands more, NHS England announced today.
NHS Long Term Plan to give mums the ‘Royal Treatment’, as 14,000 choose home birth07/05/2019 13:15:00
Almost 14,000 families have opted for a home birth in a single year, which might include the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as mothers-to-be are offered greater choice over the care they receive thanks to the NHS Long Term Plan.