HUC and Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust have been shortlisted for an HSJ Patient Safety Award in the “Improving Care for Children and Young People Initiative of the Year” category. The shortlisting comes six months after HUC won two HSJ Awards for collaborative projects, one “Driving Efficiency through Technology” and one for “Palliative Care Initiative of the Year”.

HUC’s Luton and Bedfordshire NHS 111 service and the children’s rapid response team are believed to be the first in the country to work together to introduce receiving direct referrals from NHS 111 for children under five, in a bid to reduce hospital emergency attendance.

This referral route now provides a safe, appropriate alternative for children and young people (up to 16 years) who may have otherwise been directed to an emergency department or been dispatched an ambulance via NHS 111. It has been shown to support young patients receiving the right care in the right place whilst avoiding unnecessary hospital attendance and admission.

Jacqui Wynn, Head of Children’s Services said: “It is a nice recognition of our teams’ hard work to ensure the children of Luton and Bedfordshire receive a high-quality service which is provided by highly experienced, expert nurse practitioners. This would not have been possible without our close connection and collaborative working with HUC, our local NHS 111 provider.”

High numbers of emergency department attendances by children led the partners to develop this pathway, which focuses on the health needs of children and young people. “We are delighted to be shortlisted for this initiative. When we realised there was a concern for the wellbeing of children and young people, we wanted to be a part of finding the solution. Our previous partnership with Luton children and adults community health services has allowed us to expand this service from Luton into Bedfordshire. We will continue to review this programme and its impact on the health needs of children and young people,” said Barbara Moran, Head of Transformation, HUC.

Collaborative working, oversight and assurance are strong foundations of this new pathway, which has future plans to expand.

Read more about the award nomination visit the HSJ website.