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Two Lancaster health workers have been honoured at a national awards ceremony for their work on group-led health consultations.

Nurse Emma Hodgson and Practice manager Nicola Armer, from the Lancaster Medical Practice, won the Most Innovative Group Consultation award from Health Education England (HEE) at the Group Consultation Celebration Event at the Reebok in Bolton.

In early February 2017 Lancashire North GP Federation made a successful bid to Health Education England to become one of 50 partnerships for Practice Nurses to undertake training to deliver group-led health consultations.

Emma and Nicola underwent intensive training from HEE to learn how to run group consultations for people with chronic long term conditions. The pair chose to pilot the group consultation programme by focussing on cancer care for people living with and beyond cancer.

This was because they had received feedback from some patients about how it felt to ‘be living’ with the consequences of cancer treatment. For this pilot the group consultation focused on those who have previously received gynaecological cancer treatments.

Emma said: “We wanted to try and address this need and offer extended support to patients at and following a difficult time in their lives. We often find that support for patients can be very different depending on who they have to rely on at home, follow up care or support they have already accessed.”

Unlike standard reviews the whole process is carried out in a group. The practice nurse asks each person, in turn; how they are; if they have any concerns; and at the same time the group is encouraged to share their experiences. By the end of the consultation each person has a clear idea of what they want to improve for themselves and any necessary tests and referrals are then arranged. Confidentiality is assured as everyone who takes part signs a confidentiality agreement.

A second group consultation was carried out in October, and having already met each other at the first consultation the group immediately started to talk to each other about how they were, reviewing their progress and ensuring previous concerns had been addressed.

This innovative approach to cancer care has been a huge success with people who have participated. It brought together people with similar concerns and allowed a natural peer support group to develop amongst those taking part.

“The groups interacted really well and were able to support each other; it was a positive and innovative experience for all; people living beyond cancer and staff,” added Emma.

Although the current group consultation pilot has closed, the potential to expand into other areas remains an option. This approach could focus on many different long term conditions and improve chronic disease management. The HEE selected Emma and Nicola’s group consultation as the most innovative from the 50 teams awarded training and this is a fantastic achievement for Lancashire North GP Federation and Lancaster Medical Practice.

Bridget Kingcox, Lead Nurse for Lancashire North GP Federation, said: “We were delighted to apply for and receive support from HEE to train Emma and Nicola in group consultations and we are even more delighted by the success they have achieved, we hope this fantastic work will lead to continued success for Lancaster Medical Practice and our patients.”

Emma Hodgson and Nicola Armer


Notes to editors:

  1. For further information, please contact the communications team on 01524 518638 or by email as indicated above.
  2. Better Care Together is a partnership of eleven organisations, including Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the North West Ambulance Service, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group and the two Local Authorities: Cumbria County Council and Lancashire County Council and two GP Provider Federations: North Lancashire Medical Group and South Cumbria Primary Care Collaborative working together in partnership.

  3. Clinical leaders from across all organisations have designed a new clinical model of care for Morecambe Bay, through a series of design workshops and clinical. The new care models have been strongly influenced by the wide ranging engagement with stakeholders which has taken place over the past two years.

  4. Lancashire North GP Federation is a collection of 12 GP practices in Garstang, Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth. There are around 120 GPs working in the area serving a registered population of 160,000.

  5. Lancaster Medical Practice is collaboration between Dalton Square, King St and University, Owen Rd and Rosebank practices.

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