National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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Apply now for NICE 2013 Shared Learning Awards

Do you have an example to share of providing excellent healthcare through NICE guidance or quality standards?

NICE is calling on organisations to enter its prestigious 2013 Shared Learning Awards. The awards recognise services and organisations that have put NICE guidance into practice through innovative and effective ways.

All organisations that use NICE guidance are encouraged to enter, including NHS trusts, local authorities, charities, and small businesses.

Earlier this year, NICE presented the 2012 Shared Learning award to Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, for its project in developing a regional cooling service for newborn babies with brain injury.

The Cambridge team used NICE guidance on therapeutic hypothermia for babies with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE), to set up a regional service that helps newborn babies affected by the condition, and their families.

HIE is a type of brain injury that newborn babies can develop if they are deprived of oxygen around and during the time of birth. The condition can lead to death or permanent disability.

Research shows that therapeutic hypothermia - a process of cooling body temperature of babies within 6 hour - can save a significant number of babies' lives.

NICE's guidance on therapeutic hypothermia says the procedure is safe and effective in certain circumstances among carefully selected newborn babies, and can lower the chance of developing severe brain damage or death.

Through a programme of identifying infants with the condition, brain-cooling, neuroimaging, follow-up and family-centred care, the project achieved several improved outcomes.

These included lowering the age of referral, starting cooling sooner, and improving core temperature monitoring, to reduce over-cooling, from 0 to 100 per cent.

Dr Topun Austin, Consultant Neonatologist at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "My team used NICE guidance on therapeutic hypothermia to design a coordinated regional cooling service for newborn infants starved of oxygen at birth, to reduce the chance of the child developing lifelong severe brain damage.

"Once the project began, we saw improvements in several areas, including faster referrals and treatment beginning sooner, all of which meant more positive outcomes for the infants."

He added: "It was an honour to be shortlisted and given the opportunity to present our work to our peers at the NICE conference.

"There was a diverse range of initiatives shortlisted and the other finalists involved topics from alcohol abuse dependency, to chronic obstructive airway disease. It was a real privilege to win against so many impressive initiatives.

Val Moore, Implementation Programme Director at NICE, said: “The annual NICE Shared Learning Awards provide organisations implementing NICE guidance and using quality standards with an excellent opportunity for recognition.

"All the local practice examples, accessible year round in the Shared Learning database, are highly valued by peers across the country providing insights into approaches taken to change practice and their results."

Submit an example to the shared learning database of using NICE guidance or quality standards to enter the NICE 2013 Shared Learning Award.

Nominations for entry close on 31 January 2013, with shortlisted entries announced in March 2013.

Finalists will be given the opportunity to present their work at the NICE annual conference to be held in Birmingham on May 2013, with the overall winner voted for by conference delegates.

All shortlisted applicants will have their work captured in posters produced by NICE and displayed at the conference.

Listen to the podcast above to hear Dr Austin talk more about his neuroprotection work, and his team's experience of entering the NICE Shared Learning Awards.

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