Two teams at Brighton and Hove’s main hospital have been recognised at a national awards ceremony for their innovative approach.
First prize went to the HIV team at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH), the trust that runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Kemp Town.
And at the annual British Medical Journal (BMJ) Awards, the BSUH Accident and Emergency (A&E) team were highly commended in the same category – the award for innovation.
The HIV team said: “This highly prestigious award was given for developing a world-first touch-screen digital vending machine for dispensing free HIV self-tests at the Brighton Sauna.
“With the help and support of the sauna staff, the pilot started in June 2017 and has since distributed over 300 tests.
“The project has been highly evaluated with 95 per cent saying they would recommend this type of testing to others.
“Now the second generation of machines are ready to be rolled out across the city with the aim of ensuring everyone is aware of their HIV status.
“Are you ‘tested’ or ‘untested’?”
The trust said: “BSUH is no stranger to innovation. Our staff ‘think out of the box’ every day to make improvements to how we deliver our services and better patient care.
“Our HIV team were the overall category winner for their community HIV self-testing initiative – an ingenious and unique high-tech vending machine that dispenses HIV testing kits.
“Engaging gay men in routine testing is a key aim and the convenience of the vending machine scheme empowers individuals to know their status and help normalise the conversation about HIV.
“The innovative project is a collaboration between the Martin Fisher Foundation, BioSure, BSMS (Brighton and Sussex Medical School), designers and BSUH clinicians and researchers – a great example of true partnership working, combined with innovative technology.
“Congratulations to BSUH HIV consultant Gillian Dean and the team. We should all feel proud that our trust is at the forefront of HIV prevention.
“The A&E team, led by ED (Emergency Department) consultant Rob Galloway, didn’t walk away empty-handed either.
“The team’s innovative approaches to ‘Transform the A&E Workforce’ were highly commended.”
Dr Galloway and his team have introduced a low-cost online “self-rostering” system that is increasingly being adopted by other NHS trusts.
The savings – from using fewer agency staff – have helped fund the use of “clinical fellows”, giving medics the chance to combine work in A&E with time spent carrying out research.
And they have streamlined the way that patients are seen in A&E using “single clerking”, a system which Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt heard about during a visit to Brighton.
The Royal Sussex A&E Department was one of the first in the country to have consultants available 24/7 for all patients.
With self-rostering proving attractive to prospective staff, there are now the equivalent of 18 full-time consultants – up from eight over the past five years.
The flexibility has helped attract women to the role, including seven of the eight most recent appointments.
Dr Galloway has also worked with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine to help develop sustainable rostering.
He and his team have also been recognised with awards and commendations from the Royal College and Health Service Journal (HSJ).
Dr Galloway said: “The work is really helping the haemorrhaging of staff from the NHS and A&E in particular.”