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Work of Virtual Ward team is recognised in UK awards shortlist

An Aberdare practice has been shortlisted as Team of the Year in a prestigious awards ceremony taking place in London in November.

The Virtual Ward team at St John’s Medical Practice will discover if they have beaten competition from across the UK at a gala night at the Park Plaza hotel in Westminster on November 30.

The event marks the 10th anniversary of the General Practice Awards which aim to ‘celebrate the very best examples of innovation, dedication and leadership taking place in primary care’.

The ‘virtual ward’ is a new method of working developed at the practice. A multi-disciplinary team of about 10 staff, including GP, district nurse, pharmacist, social worker, community paramedic, occupational therapist, manager and third sector services collaborate to take services to their patient at to avoid crisis admissions to hospital.

They meet once a week to discuss sick or vulnerable patients who may need more intensive support from the Primary Care Team to continue to live and function safely at home.

The initiative frees up GPs time to concentrate on complex medical cases and keeps patients out of hospital.

Lead clinician Dr Owen Thomas said: “Being shortlisted for this award is fantastic for the whole team. What isn’t always seen is the amount of work everyone has put in over the last three years.

“This is the culmination of learning from our mistakes and driving it forward. Now we are a functioning team that’s making waves bigger than the pot it came from. It’s very exciting.

“It really cements the team and it will be fantastic to feel all the hard work is worth it, making a difference for patients.”

The awards organisers said that they seek to recognise GPs, nurses, pharmacists, practice managers, leaders in healthcare and clinical teams who are making an outstanding contribution to patient care.

There are 23 categories of awards for healthcare professionals, including General Practice Team of the Year.