Swanswell wins prestigious NHS award

12 October 2010

Swanswell, a national charity which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, has won the Primary Care and Community Based Integration Award in the prestigious NHS Health and Social Care Awards.

They won the regional award for the West Midlands for their innovative hospital liaison service. The service is unique because it takes support directly to patients who’ve been admitted to hospital and show signs of alcohol-related harm. By helping them to access treatment the service reduces readmissions and saves money for the NHS.

Of the patients referred to Swanswell, 82% weren’t referred back to the service.

With the cost per alcohol-related admission estimated at £1,540 - £2,120 (National Institute for Health and Excellence, 2010), the hospital liaison service saves the public purse up to £574,520 per year.

It’s particularly remarkable that Swanswell has won this accolade, as the award celebrate innovation and excellence across health and social care, so the fact that a service provider outside the NHS has won is very special.

This recognises the exceptional way that Swanswell has integrated its alcohol treatment service into the local hospital, working alongside and training ward staff to support people with alcohol misuse issues.

A team of Swanswell workers attended the prestigious award ceremony to collect the award, along with John, a service user whose life has been transformed thanks to the hospital liaison service.

John said: ‘I had a really bad drink problem. I used to drink night and day, almost from the moment I woke up. Having Caroline [Swanswell’s hospital liaison worker] come to visit me in hospital was like someone putting my mind to rest by saying I shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help. That was the start of my road to recovery’.

Following treatment with Swanswell, John’s now holding down part-time work in a charity shop, has recently decorated his flat in Coventry and is considering training to become an alcohol worker with Swanswell.

Swanswell’s Chief Executive, Debbie Bannigan, said: ‘The fact that we’ve won a Health and Social Care Award recognises how successfully we’ve integrated our hospital liaison service into the hospital, and the strong working relationship we have with the nursing staff.

'We’re thrilled that John wanted to come and accept the award with us; after all, it acknowledges everything that he’s achieved as well as our outstanding team’.

Swanswell, and the rest of the regional finalists, will now go on to compete in the national awards, which will be held in Liverpool later this year.

Swanswell is on course for a hat trick of awards – they’ve been shortlisted for the Coventry and Warwickshire Employer of Choice Awards, which celebrate employers who promote the wellbeing of their staff, and the Midlands Business Awards in the category of Service Provider of the Year.








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