Award winners helped to overcome pandemic pressures

Inspiring collaborations across the North which have helped patients and NHS staff cope with the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic have been recognised in the NHS in the North Excellence in Supply Awards 2021.

The event was staged on an online platform which offered the chance for NHS buyers and suppliers to talk informally before the ceremony.

The awards were hosted by Dr Phil Jennings, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, who said the event represented an ideal way of celebrating innovation and collaboration: “It was an honour to present the eleventh Excellence in Supply Awards.

“Many of those nominated were fantastic examples of overcoming hurdles despite the challenges of the past year. We, and our fellow northern AHSNs who have kindly supported the event, are ideally placed to support our partners in the NHS and industry. As our keynote speaker Sir Jim Mackey commented, innovative solutions that can be quickly adopted will be increasingly vital as we aim to spread benefits to patients and within our regional economies.”

Keynote speaker Sir Jim Mackey, the Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Chairman of the NHS Customer Board for Procurement and Supply and a former head of NHS Improvement, paid tribute to suppliers who stepped up to help the NHS during the pandemic.

He said: “We really do need to try and maintain the freedom of mind and a desire to innovate and collaborate.”

The title of Supplier of the Year went to Health Call Solutions, the organisation behind a digital technology adoption project for care homes in County Durham. Despite the pandemic, the rollout of the technology was delivered almost a year ahead of schedule.

Ian Dove, founding director of Health Call, said: “Initially we wanted to roll out Digital Care Home within two years to support technology adoption in care homes for older people. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this process and we achieved the roll-out in just 14 months. We’re thrilled that this achievement has been recognised in the form of these two prestigious awards.”

Seven other awards were made to suppliers and NHS staff as part of an event hosted by the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the North West Coast and NHS Northern Customer Board; sponsored by Health Innovation Manchester, Yorkshire and Humber AHSN and North East and North Cumbria AHSN.

The winners were:

  1. Innovation Award – The Medication Support Company The company created a pharmacist-led telehealth service employed across health and social care to help patients take their medicines correctly.
  2. Patient Experience Award Health Call Solutions When COVID-19 took hold the rollout of the digital technology adoption project for County Durham’s care homes was delivered almost a year sooner than originally planned.
  3. Small Business Award – Cievert  In just three weeks during the pandemic, Cievert developed a system to allow vaccinations to begin by building a digital platform capable of taking direct online bookings.
  4. Support Services Award – MyKitCheck North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust worked with MyKitCheck to drastically improve the recording of storage and checking of equipment.
  5. NHS Procurement Outstanding Contribution Award – Simon Bennett of the NHS Lancashire Procurement Cluster
  6. NHS Champion in Support of Procurement Award – Hayley Lockwood, of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate ICS Digital Team
  7. NHS Procurement Transformation Award – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust        
  8. Supplier of the Year Award – Health Call Solutions

Mick Guymer, Chair of the NHS Northern Customer Board, said: “This year all of us in the NHS have worked to combat the effects of the pandemic and it’s heartening to see these awards recognise inspirational examples of businesses, third sector organisations and the NHS working together. I send my congratulations to the winners but everyone involved really deserves recognition for their sterling work in often adverse situations.
“These awards are my final act as Chair of the Northern Procurement Customer Board as my eight-year term has come to an end. My best wishes to all involved in the EIS Awards and to the incoming Chair Jonathan Wood.”

Watch the awards ceremony in full here:

Sir Jim Mackey’s keynote speech can be seen here:

The full virtual awards exhibition can be viewed here:

All three NHS award winners will go through to the Health Care Supply Association annual conference and exhibition to be held in Harrogate in November.

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