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GP of the Year recognition for diabetes care

GP of the Year recognition for diabetes care

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A GP from Northern Ireland was named 'General Practitioner of the Year' at the inaugural General Practice Awards 2011 for overseeing the development of a streamlined care pathway for diabetic patients.

More than 450 healthcare professionals paid tribute to the hard work, innovation and dedication of GP surgery teams across the UK at a glittering awards ceremony in London on 16 November.
A GP from Northern Ireland was named 'General Practitioner of the Year' at the inaugural General Practice Awards 2011 for overseeing the development of a streamlined care pathway for diabetic patients.

More than 450 healthcare professionals paid tribute to the hard work, innovation and dedication of GP surgery teams across the UK at a glittering awards ceremony in London on 16 November.

Dr Keith McCollum (pictured left, with host Dr Phil Hammond), from Willowbank Surgery in Armagh, was self-deprecating in his victory, telling GPB: "I only wished that more of the practice team had been able to come over because it reflects the work the surgery does as much as what I do".

Willowbank Surgery redesigned the diabetes care pathway with the twin aims of improving efficiency and quality. The approach, using a web-based pathway and a diabetic review score designed by Dr McCollum, succeeded: the practice's enhanced "customer focus" achieved improved clinical outcomes and a significant increase in patients with well-controlled conditions.

The practice also received a £2,500 bursary from medical consultants BMI Healthcare to be used as a fund for developing the practice's resources.

"We very much see ourselves as a practice that tries to innovate to improve the lives of our patients," said Dr McCollum. "At times innovation isn't really reflected upon within primary care, so it's nice to get an award that validates the work we've been doing. It's given everyone a real boost."

The General Practice Awards were organised by Campden Media, which publishes GP Business, Management in Practice and Nursing in Practice.

The 'General Practice of the Year' Award, sponsored by RPM Solutions, was a joint victory for Wilson Health Centre in Surrey and Tudor Lodge Surgery in Weston Super Mare, after judges announced the standard of both practices was so high they could not pick a single winner

Wilson Health Centre, a relatively new walk-in practice which opened in March 2010, was recognised for its 'Community Engagement Plan', led by practice manager Michele Izzo, which focused on identifying the current and future healthcare needs of the local population and tailoring services appropriately.

Paul Harvey of Concordia Health said the team were "over the moon" to receive the award. He explained: "We looked at how we could best engage with the local community – not just raising awareness of the practice, but how we could work closely with the community."

The walk-in GP practice, which is open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, met with a huge number of local community and voluntary organisations – Harvey says the team was "flabbergasted" to find identify around 1,400 such organisations in the area – and as a result of this involvement designed services, including a podiatry service, a weight management programme and carer support services – to better meet the needs of its patients.

The awards ceremony (pictured), held at the luxury Lancaster London Hotel, was hosted by TV personality Phil Hammond, a GP and comedian who brought an irreverent humour to proceedings with jokes about NHS reform in England.

Dr Hammond said the government's controversial NHS reforms were nothing new. "The Health and Social Care Bill has been described as once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he joked. "But we've been told about three once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in the last 12 years.

"Either someone's not telling the truth or life expectancy is getting much shorter."

Dr Hammond, who recently jousted with Health Secretary Andrew Lansley on the BBC's Question Time, went on to describe the Health Bill as "unintelligible". He told guests it was frontline healthcare staff, and not structural reform or top-down demands, that "really make a difference" to patient care.

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