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Achieving ‘Beacon Service’ status within our Trust

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust gives the top two clinical services in its Trust a ‘Beacon Service’ award. The Beacon status provides public recognition of the excellence and innovation that exists within the healthcare system. It recognises fast, flexible and accessible services in those areas that matter most to patients.

Occupational health had always been excluded from entering for a beacon award, as it wasn’t considered to be a clinical specialty. The first job was to lobby the medical director to allow the occupational health team to compete. The team had to make the case and explain what occupational health did and how it is a clinical specialty.  The Executive team agreed that they could enter.

The team (including the consultant OHP, the OH Nurse Manager, the Business Manager and the Health and Wellbeing Lead) worked together to submit a bid.  The application showed in a nutshell what the team had achieved in the previous year in categories including quality, reputation, research and teaching and continuous improvement and innovation.

They demonstrated their value using a variety of methods including the SEQOHS database (which they update monthly), MoHaWK data, staff questionnaires, feedback from senior managers across the Trust and examples of collaborations, for example, with Sandwell Council.
     
The bid demonstrated the benefits to staff – they highlighted innovative new approaches including speedier access for staff to radiological services and health and wellbeing services such as providing free nicotine patches to staff. However, the bid also focused on how the occupational health service did not just benefit staff but translated to the frontline services and benefits for patients, the organisation and finances.   

The team had to present their innovative approaches to the senior management team.

Dr Tamsin Radford, the Head of the Service, said:

“Even if we had not won, the application process really enabled occupational health to be seen within the Trust and for the senior management team to gain an understanding of what we do and the benefits that we deliver. I would urge other occupational health teams to consider entering for similar awards within their Trusts or even national awards – it all helps to build our profile.”

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