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23 October 2020

An NHS trust and two innovative suppliers claimed top honours at this year’s NHS in the North Excellence in Supply Awards.

The awards were in three special categories to recognise the response of the health and care sector to COVID-19.

The winners were:

  • Fighting the Virus Award: Patchwork Health
  • Supporting the System Award: Docobo
  • NHS Procurement Heroes Award: Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust procurement team

Also highly commended in the category for NHS Procurement Heroes were Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Shared Business Services for the NHS Nightingale Hospital North West.

The winners were announced during a livestream on YouTube and Twitter.

More about the awards, including videos of the finalists and winners, here.

Patchwork Health scooped the award for fighting the virus. The award was to recognise organisations which had demonstrated innovation in supply of a product or service directly supporting the response of the health and care system to COVID-19.

Formed by healthcare workers in partnership with the NHS, Patchwork Health is a digital platform which matches vacant shifts with the availability of clinicians.

Patchwork Health partnered with Liverpool primary care networks to open a COVID-19 clinic in south Liverpool. The partnership enabled GPs across 24 practices to flexibly self-book onto vacant shifts, ensuring safe staffing levels. Over 500 hours of patient care were coordinated through Patchwork Health as part of the initiative.

Docobo won the award for supporting the system, an award recognising those organisations innovatively supporting, enhancing or transforming existing areas of health and care or services impacted by COVID-19.

Docobo is a digital health company which has been delivering remote health, or telehealth, services to around 1,800 patients with long-term health conditions in Liverpool since 2017. In March this year, Docobo were asked if the telehealth system could be rapidly expanded to serve vulnerable, shielded patients. Through creative methods, including procuring equipment direct from factories in China and delivering 'telehealth in a box' through British Gas volunteers, telehealth patient numbers were doubled to over 4,000 in a six-week period, later rising to 5,000.

The procurement team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were named NHS Procurement Heroes for their exceptional support during COVID-19.

The team were nominated by the trust for meeting the challenge of COVID-19 head-on. Successes included switching from deliveries over five days across six sites to deliveries over seven days at one site, procuring on behalf of South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS to ensure that all trusts in the area had required levels of stock, and, through collaboration with clinical leads, increasing the trust’s critical care capacity from 70 beds to 250.

The NHS in the North Excellence in Supply Awards are organised by the NHS Supply Chain Northern Customer Board and the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the North West Coast. The awards are co-sponsored by Health Innovation Manchester and Yorkshire and Humber AHSN.

Mick Guymer, Chair of NHS Supply Chain Northern Customer Board, said: “We’re delighted to continue to support these awards, now running for their 10th year, celebrating the innovative and creative relationships between suppliers and NHS trusts in the North of England.

“This year of course the work of all of us in the NHS has been dominated by COVID-19. To reflect this, this year’s awards recognise the inspirational examples of businesses, third sector organisations and the NHS working together to improve patient care and support health and care staff during the pandemic.

“All of the organisations shortlisted have demonstrated effective collaborations between suppliers and the NHS in the North which are having a real impact in terms of our response to COVID-19: I congratulate them all.”

Lorna Green, Innovation Agency Director of Enterprise and Growth, said: “As the organisation which brokers innovative solutions in health and care in the North West Coast, we understand the value of effective and innovative relationships between the NHS and those organisations who supply the NHS with goods and services.

“This year we’ve seen how integral those relationships have been to the effectiveness of the health and care system’s response to COVID-19. In a period during which the NHS has sustained unprecedented pressures and undergone change on a massive scale, creativity and innovation in supply have been fundamental to success.

“I would like to congratulate and thank all of this year’s winners and runners up.”

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